Monday, July 27, 2020

Grace Changes Everything

All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?" Acts 9:21

Hi Friends,

Have you read Acts 9? Talk about a transformation. Talk about grace changing everything. The chapter begins with Saul (Paul) threatening the early Christians. He wanted to imprison them for their belief in Jesus. He took this persecution seriously, not because he was a bad man, but because he thought he was right. Let me say that again. He persecuted the Christians because he thought he was right. He thought he was fighting for God. Makes you think, doesn't it? But, that's a whole other subject. Let's get back to his conversion. :)

Saul headed to Damascus for the purpose of imprisoning Christians. And Jesus stopped him on the way. Jesus asked him why he was persecuting Him. Jesus told him to go to Damascus and wait to be told what to do. And Saul did just that. Ananias, prompted by God, went to Saul and his discipleship to Jesus began. In meeting Jesus, Saul was completely changed. The grace he was given changed his purpose, his thoughts, his actions. Instead of fighting against Christians, he began fighting for them and spread the gospel in amazing ways.

Jesus does the same thing for us. We may not meet Him in the spectacular way Saul/Paul did, but when we come to Him and accept Him as our Savior, we receive the same grace Saul/Paul did. And it changes us in the same way it changed him. In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul said, "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." He knew that he was changed by God's grace. And it was that grace that helped him through the difficulties of life. I pray the same for you.

Page details:
I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Grace Upon Grace and True Beauty. Both these sets were part of the July release. They are both so versatile! I applied distress oxide for the background color, then stamped the roses and the words. I finished the page by detailing the letters with white accents using a white paint pen.

Let God's grace change you, my friends! Have a blessed week. Andrea

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Spirit of True Beauty...

Hi friends,

Have you ever read a passage of Scripture, maybe a verse in particular, and really felt challenged by how you could ever live up to that instruction or ideal? I know I have... many times! One of those passages is 1 Peter 3:3-4 where Peter writes to wives of unbelieving husbands in some first century churches, 'Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is great worth in God's sight.'

The reason I have found these verses challenging is that quiet and gentle are two words that definitely do NOT describe me! I am chatty, loud and opinionated and can be stubborn and sometimes harsh in my tone towards others. God has taken me on a journey over the last couple of decades in learning how to temper these personality traits and he has chipped off and smoothed down some of the rough edges through gentle teaching and not-so-gentle experiences. But the fact remains that I am still not a quiet or gentle person. Does anyone else relate to this struggle?

When I was creating this page I started reflecting on this 'quiet and gentle spirit' and was reminded that this is a description that could be attributed to the Holy Spirit. One of the images used for the Holy Spirit is a dove, which is both gentle and quiet, and one of the fruits of the spirit is gentleness. That does not mean that the Holy Spirit is not also fire or that he does not challenge injustice or sin. But the Spirit does work in quiet and gentle ways to lead us to Christ and in his ways. That was encouraging to me because I know that the Holy Spirit dwells in me and therefore the Spirit who is gentle and quiet leads and guides me. Even though my personality is not gentle or quiet, I can rely on the Spirit in me to help me to quiet my spirit (and my mouth!) and to respond to others with gentleness.

I used the beautiful new True Beauty set on this page, stamping the roses with Sage Versamagic ink then colouring with watercolours and coloured pencils. The text is a combination of True Beauty, His Name and Bitty Minnie Alpha and I added a couple of little accent images from Let's Do This. I added a butterfly stamped and die-cut with Made New and the coordinating dies.

Let's be grateful for the quiet and gentle ministry of the Holy Spirit at work within us.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Friday, July 24, 2020

Put on the Full Armor

No matter where you stand on the events of our world right now, one thing is certain: there is so much more going on in the spiritual realm than we could even begin to imagine. The battles that we face day in and day out on this earth are all part of a bigger, spiritual battle that we can’t see. Now, more than ever, Christians need to be on guard, dressed and ready to fight. Ephesians 6:12-13 reminds us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Today I want to take a look at the armor of God and what that means for us today. All of this is taken from Priscilla Shirer’s study, The Armor of God if you want to go check it out (note: this study was so rich. She spent an entire week on each of the pieces of armor. Below is only a teensy snippet of what you will find in her study.)

The Belt of Truth
“Truth—which we could basically define as God’s opinion on any matter is our standard. Truth is who God is and what He says it is, which is best summed up for us within the person of Jesus Christ. God’s truth. Biblical truth. Without concrete allegiance to and affirmation with this truth –with real truth—you’re left weak and susceptible to things that may look right yet aren’t right. But with the standard of truth in place, you can adjust everything else in your life—your ambitions, choices, and feelings; you mind, will, and emotions—until all of it is “tuned” correctly. When you have a strong, stable, well-supported core, you can’t easily be led astray by the enemy’s clever lies. Gird yourself with truth and you’re on guard from the word go.”

The Breastplate of Righteousness
“Righteousness literally means justice—the quality of being upright, fulfilling the expectations set in a relationship. In our case as believers, this relationship is with God Himself. Righteousness, then, is upright living that aligns with God’s expectations….Wearing the belt of truth, putting on the shoes and the helmet, using the shield or sword- they’ll do you no good if you leave your heart open to a full frontal attack by the devil. You must intentionally protect the organ that pumps vibrancy into your spiritual life. So pray fervently. Seek God fully. Ask Him to reveal anything “spoiled” in your life that’s attracting the pesky fruit flies of demonic activity. Then confess it and repent of it, defusing the accusations of the enemy.”

The Shoes of Peace
“Of all the things the enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy in your life, peace is almost always near the top of his list. He intentionally stirs up discord, division, disruption, and disturbance, both within you and around you. He is the lord of chaos and confusion, using every opportunity to upset your sense of wellbeing and stability. He wants you uneasy, unbalanced, filled with anxiety, worry and turmoil. Lacking peace….any time you feel worry or anxiety creeping into your heart, take it as your cue to turn your attention to God. Pray. Trust Him. Be grateful. And watch His peace—a peace you cannot even begin to explain—swell in your experience…When God sees this type of prayerful, grateful faith, when our mind is squared on Him, the peace of God expands within us. It stabilizes our runaway emotions, centers our minds, guides our footsteps and even overflows into our experience with others…”

The Shield of Faith
“Simply put, faith is acting like God is telling the truth…It is the process of adapting your behavior, your decisions, and ultimately your whole lifestyle so that it accords with what God has asked you to do—without needing to see the evidence that it will all work out in the end…Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so…. With the belt, breastplate and shoes, he conveys them as a spiritual uniform that should be worn by believers at all times. Minute by minute. Day by day. But he approaches this piece of equipment differently. With the shield, he commands for it to be “taken up.” Look at it this way. A nurse might wear scrubs to work every day because it’s her uniform. But when the need arises, she will pick up a stethoscope, blood pressure machine, thermometer, or any number of tolls to use on her patient. Likewise, we must always wear our daily, divinely given uniform, but also be prepared to “take up” the others when required.” The first of these pieces of armor is the shield of faith. The moment when we first sense a flaming plumbata infiltrating our life in some way, we activate faith as a shield of protection over our lives. So don’t miss the irony here. The enemy sends flaming arrows into your life specifically when you are being called to walk in faith. Those arrows are deliberately intended to disable you from doing the only thing that has the power to extinguish them: walking in faith!...He knows that if you’ll ever push past the insecurity or doubt or fear that’s burning in your soul, choosing instead to believe the truth of God and walk in accordance with it, you’ll erect a shield of protection that will smother his plans.”

The Helmet of Salvation
“…part of what it means to wear the helmet of salvation is to live every day in light of eternity and the promised future that we have. Doing so will, without a doubt, change the way we live in the present… Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. The first redeems us; the second restores, protects and shields us daily from the attacks of the enemy…Understand that living in light of this salvation inheritance enables you to not only stop living below your spiritual station in life, but it also protects your mind against the enemy’s attempts to cripple your thinking, to convince you that you are worth less than you really are. The ripple effect of this protection will be a change in your mind set, lifestyle and the choices you make. All of that will now be based on your wealthy spiritual income status…. This helmet of salvation, positioned to a snug fit, is representative of the high value items that are ours “in Him”—our inheritance in Christ. Choosing not to wear it means leaving our mind exposed, unprotected, like people who don’t even own a helmet…what the brain is to the body, your mind is to your soul. It is the spiritual expression of your brain. The control center. If your mind doesn’t send out healthy impulses, your soul will not respond in healthy ways. This is why the enemy works so diligently to cripple you through negative thoughts and unhealthy patterns of imagination.”

The Sword of the Spirit
This was the only piece of armor that Shirer did not spend a week on in the study. But it is interesting to note that this is the only piece of armor mentioned that is actually used for fighting. And what is it that we fight with? The word of God. Take a look at these verses:

“and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17)

“For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12)

Knowing, believing and living the Word in our lives is what will keep us alive. It is our only defense against the schemes of the devil. It contains the truth we need to know to build our lives on and will provide us victory for whatever battles that we may face.

Whatever battle you are facing today, suit up---with the FULL armor. Victory is promised to those who believe (Ephesians 6:13; 1 John 5:4). Have a great weekend!


Crafty Details
For this page, I started by stamping all the images from Armor of God onto cardstock and coloring them with my Prismacolor pencils. I cut them out and laid them aside and then stamped the words for all the armor pieces (belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, etc) with Tattered Rose distress oxide.  I then stamped “Put on the Full Armor” with both Armor of God and County Fair Alpha. I added some texture with Texture Tiles 1 and then glued down my armor pieces around the page.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Christ Died for My Sins

Hello again, Tuesday!

I trust your holding on tight as our summer swirls and hurls us about like tumble weeds in a dust storm! HAHAHA! It's so crazy that we're already finishing out July and approaching the (not so scorching) days of August. <3

 I've enjoyed the studies I've been doing recently - most recently is the ones in books like, "Gospel, 90-day Devotional, (WOW!)" "Growing Together,(YES!)" "Exalting Jesus in Leviticus," and "Exalting Jesus in Acts."
Those last two mentioned are part of a series and they're SO helpful. 
To give you a bit of an overlook at what these books are, they're primarily commentaries written to help pastors develop a clear and concise mode of preaching through each book of the Bible.  Each book of the "Exalting Jesus" series helps a pastor to gain the understanding of the Gospel as it pertains to each book! 
These have been incredibly simple in their layout, their insight, they're connections from one passage of Scripture to another.  It is no wonder these are made for a pastor to deliver a sweet and clear message to his congregation about the supernatural grace and wonder of the Lord Jesus Christ - the Gospel! Everything is tied to it!
Side note:  no, I'm not a pastor by profession, nor do I plan on assuming such a role.  But I AM a born again Christian, hoping to bring the light of the Gospel to my surroundings and even to my own life.  It's the hope that is primary and essential, priority and converting.  Thus, as Peter said, "Such as I have, I give to you…" in the context of what I know.  What I DO know, I give, in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Lord of Grace, I ask that You be here right now.  That You be working and tenderizing.  That You will penetrate and fill.  That You would bring to light the Gospel and the way it works in our lives, both to save and to sanctify. 
In Jesus Name, Amen.

In your Bibles, there's going to be places that are more cryptic and bewildering than others.  You've most likely stepped up to bat in your Bible reading plan, reached the book of Leviticus, and signaled for a "pinch hitter."  I get that.  I totally get that. 
Some books of the Bible are easier to get a sense of the flow and nature of the character of God and the relevance of His Word.  I want to offer something to you: don't let that hinder your desire to learn of God, and get to know Him.  He is absolutely gracious as He offers 2 things to help us in our studies:
1. The Holy Spirit.  In Christ, we have a perfect communicator between us and God that will help us come to an understanding of His Word.  It's the Helper.  He's with us to help us.  When you come to a Bible passage that leaves you wondering, it's ok to ask for help.  It's ok to not know, to pray over a selection of the Word of God, and to seek His counsel.  It's ok.  AND, it's ok to need additional support from those who have gone before us to seek and study the hard and deep things of the Bible.
2.  Books and commentaries.  These are written for the explicit purpose of helping us "connect the dots" between books, the truths therein, and the relationship to God they have.  The commentary series I mentioned above has helped me immensely to travel through a book - LIKE LEVITICUS! - bringing incredible insight and guidance toward knowing and loving my Lord! 

We are NOT alone in our studies.  We are NOT alone in our questions. 
Tim Keller
Paul Tripp
Sinclair Furgeson
Don Carson
Albert Mohler
NT Wright
Tim Mackey
Mike Bullmore
Jen Wilkin
Tony Merida
David Platt
JD Greear
Melissa Kruger
Trilia Newbell…
…and more have been down those paths of not knowing, questioning, searching, and prayerfully considering the text of Scripture before them.  They're ever-learners just like you and me.  They're ever-seekers, longing to know more of God, as that endeavor is ongoing and cannot be satiated on Earth.  For our benefit in knowing the Gospel better, and certainly by the grace of God, they have provided the fruit of their studies, the gifts of their teaching, and the love of our Father.  God has been so kind to provide all the ways we need in order to know and follow Him better!

Having said all of that, I would like to give a short Gospel message:  Christ died for our sins.  That's it.  That's the entire Gospel message. 
A five-word, all-inclusive explanation of what it is we initially believed in faith when we came to Christ. 
A famous hymn put it another way:

This alone is the gift of God, by His grace.  The Gospel is the core belief system of a Christ follower.  And in Christ, we are meant to live, breathe and eat by it! 
Not only that, but it's strewn throughout the Bible.  It's laid out in the whole story of Scripture and plays out beautifully from beginning to end.  

For example: Proverbs 14:9 which says,
"Fools mock at the guilt offering,
    but the upright enjoy acceptance."

At first glance, it's easy to pass right over this verse in Proverbs with a quick nod to its teaching.
"Fools, bad."
"Upright, good."
Then we move on with a sense of, don't be a fool because it's better to be upright. 
In themselves, those statements are true.  There is a positivity to "upright" and "enjoy." We like those words.  Sounds bad, being a "fool" or one who "mocks."  But, what does that even mean!?
Why was this written?
Who wrote it?
What's the less obvious implications of "fool" vs. "upright?" 
Upright in what?
Guilt offering, huh?

To be as concise as possible, "fool" is used to describe those with no real sense of what life is about: God.  "Fools" are those who say, "there is no God," who live life in recklessness and carelessness.
Ok. Got it.  That's bad.
Upright.  Ah, more complex.  But simply put, he's the one who lives within his God-given boundaries.  He's wise and God-fearing.  He's moral and has a sense of justice.  He's conscientious of God and his standing before the Creator.
Cool!  I wanna be THAT guy (or gal).
So we have a stark contrast in characters here, which is the overall gist of the book of Proverbs.  It's the 31-chapter book of the Bible that lays out differences between one who fears the Lord and one who does not in great detail.  You can read Proverbs for yourself and get a pretty good idea of it's layout.  Praise the Lord for understanding!

Alrighty, but what of this guilt offering in relationship to a fool?  And how does that contrast with the upright who "enjoy acceptance??" 
This is where commentaries come into play.  There is a lot of background and history to the culture of the world that was; a lot of context that comes into play when dealing with who wrote this proverb (Solomon, son of David), and the audience to which he wrote it (the nation of Israel).  Having read the "Exalting Jesus in Leviticus" commentary (particularly surrounding Leviticus 5 and 6), I looked at this passage with more than a sense of right and wrong; more of a deep-hearted thrill for God!  For Jesus!  For who He is.  For what He's done. 
Leviticus is the law of God to the people of Israel.  They were given strict and detailed instructions about being the chosen nation of God Almighty.  What did life look like?  What did worship look like?  What did relationship look like?  What did sacrifice look like?  Why sacrifice?  What is the purpose behind ceremonies, festivals, purifications? 
All of Leviticus details the particulars of God's heart toward the nation of Israel, that they be holy, as God is Holy.  Set apart, different, in living and in worship from all other nations. 
In His love and because of His holiness, He provided a way - through rituals and observances - for the people of Israel to be reconciled to Him, grow closer to Him, and worship Him.  What a good God to be so kind as to provide a way in which we can be in a right relationship with Him!
In Leviticus 5 and 6, we get the finite details of what pursuing that relationship with Him looked like through something called, the "guilt offering."  This offering would be done by one who sinned unintentionally - broke the law without knowing it either because they didn't know it was a law, or because they simply forgot.  We'd call this a "mistake." Something done without intent.  Even still, it was a failure before the LORD; a sin nonetheless.  Just because we don't know a law exists doesn't make us any less guilty when we break it. 
This offering is made also when someone cheats another individual in any way.  If one took from another individual, one incurred guilt, and God gave direction as to how to make that right, both by making the offering as well as returning what was stolen, plus some. 
You can probably imagine how often this would have happened.  Unintentional sin?  Cheating another?  The priestly office was always a necessity - the burdens borne on the backs of the ones who brought these offerings before God was a heavy one.  Each. And. Every. Time.  Following the "ample" (I use that term loosely) sacrifice made by the priest, the idea and hope would be that said "offender" would walk away with a repentant heart - a heart of Godly grief - and live accordingly. 
Proverbs is alluding to this by saying that the "fool" mocks this offering as being inconsequential; unnecessary; a waste; a bother; an annoyance.  When you mock something, you're making less of the gravity of which it consists - the gravity of our sin (unintentional at best) is so heavy, and the "fool" mocks at it, and the offering that must be made in order to be reconciled to God and others.
Then, there's the opposite reaction to sin - the better and ideal way to handle it.  The Bible calls this being "upright."  The one who longs for that reconciliation with God and others, is the one whose prize possession is that relationship with God, His acceptance and His intimacy.  In bringing this guilt offering, Proverbs says that the "upright" does what is necessary to make things right, with godly grief and godly intention.  "A broken and contrite heart, the LORD will not despise," says David (Psalm 51).  

Hopefully this ties some things together for you.
1. The holiness of God vs. the sinfulness of man
2. The grace that made a way for man to be made right with him through sacrifice.
Finally, that this initial model of guilt pardoned, sin covered, and reconciliation extended was not the full and perfect mode God to reconcile people to Himself - it was however, a pointer to something - SOMEONE - greater.
Because of sin, the damage done, and the consistency of it, they (we) could not slaughter enough animals, wash enough hands, say enough prayers, do enough mourning, pay enough recompense to earn our right standing with God.  We are limited.  We are finite.  We are imperfect. 
This is not a gloom and doom thought.  This is a sobering thought, to be sure, but it is to serve as the preface to something more amazing, more deep, more radically different, and more unfathomably gracious: the Gospel.
As much as Proverbs points to Leviticus and Leviticus explains the Proverbs, they both "tip their hats" as Jen Wilkin would say, to the new and perfect covenant - Jesus Christ.  The covenant that God makes with His people now is through the perfect blood of the once-and-for-all, eternal, completely satisfactory sacrifice made through the Son of God.  

HE is the perfect offering for guilt to pardon our sins (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
HE is the perfect priest who brings our guilt before God (Hebrews 3-5).
HE is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 3:16).

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures," 1 Cor. 15:3.

Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. 

Much love,

Monday, July 20, 2020

Into His Marvelous Light

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 
- 1 Peter 2:9

I have a short blog post for you today! I am vacationing in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula with my family, but of course packed my "necessary" art supplies - watercolors, markers, and alpha stamps! ;-)

I've had this verse and page idea bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now and finally sat down to draw it out. 

This was a simple but fun page to create. I watched a YouTube video on how to draw a lantern (so easy a child could do it), then painted the lantern and background with watercolors. I then used three different alpha stamp sets for the page title, added some highlights with my white Uniball gel pen and that was it - done! 

Sometimes we just need the reminder that, as children of God, we have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. 💙

Love in Christ,
**I'd love to connect with you on Instagram! You can find me @journalingjoy 😘

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Monster Inside Me

To see the process video for this page click HERE.

Are you familiar with the story of Absalom, Amnon and Tamar? 

In 2 Samuel 13, Absalom and Tamar were brother and sister. Amnon was Tamar's half brother. Amnon fell in love with Tamar and tricked her into coming in to his bedroom where he raped her. Tamar was very upset and ashamed, and told her brother Absalom what had happened. 2 Samuel 13:22 says "Absalom never said a word to Amnon, either good or bad; he hated Amnon, because he had disgraced his sister Tamar." 

Now clearly, Absalom was well in his right to hate Amnon and be furious with him. His anger was completely legitimate! But how he handled it was the problem. Instead of confronting Amnon and talking to him about it, Absalom stewed in his anger and hate for two whole years. During those two years, he was planning how to murder Amnon. 

How we respond to anger, even legitimate anger, is important! If you give anger and rage a place to live inside of you, you give it the ability to take root. Letting anger get too comfortable will allow it to take over and anger will choke out joy! It will start to destroy all positive aspects of your life if you let the anger fester inside your heart too long. Anger will become a monster inside of you that you may lose control over.

Romans 12:19
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 
"Vengeance is mine, I will repay" says the Lord. 

It is not up to us to judge and decide who lives and dies. Justice is to be left up to God to deliver.
We have to be on the side of justice and not rage.

This page was inspired by a recent sermon I heard from Pastor Mike Hilson titled "Monster In Me". You can find the link to his online sermon HERE.

Stephanie Gammon
IG: @faith.and.creativity

Mini Grunge Type Alpha

Messy Stamp Alpha 

Chunky Alpha 

Monday, July 13, 2020

Faith, Hope, & Love

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. 
But the greatest of these is love. 
1 Corinthians 13:13

Hi Friends,
Today, I'm focusing on 1 Corinthians 13:13. This chapter is familiar to many of us. Many people refer to it as the love chapter. In chapter 12, Paul spoke of spiritual gifts. And he followed that chapter with a chapter on love to point out that if these gifts are practiced without godly love, they are worthless. The Corinthians were proud of their spiritual gifts. Paul wanted to remind them that the way of love is more important. 

The point of 1 Cor 13:1-3 is that what we do is not eternally meaningful if it is not done in love. If we are just going through the motions, or just doing what we’re “supposed” to do, we need to stop and re-evaluate. Our hearts need to be in the right place. God knows our hearts. And He wants us not just serving others, but lovingly serving others.

When I read 1 Cor 13:4-8, I see Christ’s love through and through. It is an amazing love that we can all strive for, but again, cannot achieve without the Holy Spirit. I pray often that God would help me see others through His eyes and help me to love them as He does. Prayer is so important- not only praying for the people we are trying to love, but praying for ourselves that God will help us love them. So don’t forget to pray!
Verse 13 says that faith, hope, and love remain. What that's speaking to is that the spiritual gifts the Corinthians were priding themselves in were temporary. But faith, hope, and love are eternal. Faith is an essential part of Christianity. Hope is a conviction that God will keep His promises. And all things need to be done in love. God is love, so that is central to following Jesus. 1 Cor 13:13 says the greatest is love. Why? The following came from the notes section in my Jeremiah Study Bible, "Why is love the greatest of these? When Christ makes all things new and His followers are ushered into the eternal state, faith will no longer be necessary because the redeemed will see face to face. Hope will no longer be necessary because their hope will have been perfectly realized. But love will remain, and it will finally be known without the taint of sin." Love without the taint of sin. That’s Jesus love.

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: County Fair Alpha, The Good News, Made New, Filigree Hearts, Psalm 23 Background, Texture Tiles 1.

 Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Do not quarrel on the way...

Hi friends,

I was reading through Genesis a while ago and noticed a little detail I hadn't really seen before in the story of Joseph. After he had revealed his identity to his brothers in Egypt (Gen 45), he tells them to go back to Canaan and bring his father to dwell in the Egypt. Joseph and Pharaoh supply the brothers with lots of goods for the journey, and as Joseph sends them on their way is parting words are, "do not quarrel on the way."

This got my attention for two reasons. First, it could be that Joseph is having a little dig at them because of their previous terrible behaviour toward him, when they wanted to kill him but decided instead to sell him into slavery. He knows their tendency toward jealousy and strife and so issues this reminder that they need to refrain from quarrelling as they travel back home. The second reason it struck me was because of how easy it is to quarrel on a journey! Anyone else had arguments with their spouse on a car journey (maybe over directions...!)? Anyone have to mediate in arguments between children? There is something about being on a journey - maybe it's the confined space, the boredom, or the unique challenges of new environments or routes - that increases the likelihood of quarrelling!

When I was creating this page, I started thinking about the fact that as Christians, we are on a journey over the whole of our lives. This is sometimes called a pilgrimage, where we are journeying to our home with Jesus. There is much language in the Bible that supports this view. This made me think about our relationships with one another as Christians on this journey. As I look around the Church in the world today, I see a lot of quarrelling. Social media seems to be rife with nit-picking of doctrine and denouncing of words and practice at the moment. We haven't adopted this wise advice from Joseph to his brothers not to quarrel as we journey together, and it is making the journey more difficult as a result.

I created this page by stamping the caravan from Happy Camper onto the page, then created the background with watercolours. These hills reminded me of the beautiful Lancashire hills that we can see from our new home that we moved to recently. The text was stamped using a combination of Bold & Outline Caps Alpha, Love Ya Like a Sister Alpha and Love Your Neighbor (which I also used to stamp the tree and clouds).

Let's commit to listening to the wisdom of Joseph (which is ultimately the wisdom of God). Let's not quarrel with one another one our journey of faith together. Let's encourage one another, build each other up, challenge and correct one another where needed, but let's not quarrel.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Friday, July 10, 2020

Choose Joy

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” Proverbs 17:22


If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I talk a lot about perspective. The way that we see things and the lens from which we see it determines a lot about how we live our lives.

The word joy has been coming up a lot for me lately. It’s in my Bible study, in my conversations and just a lot in my thought process, and the more that I meditate on it, joy has everything to do with perspective. How often do we long for things to be different? Maybe we would be happier if we had a different job. Maybe we would be happier if we had more money. Maybe we would be happier if we had such and such tool or supply. Maybe when our kids get a little older we would have more freedom. And the list goes on and on.

But, guys, JOY is a choice. It is a fruit from the Lord that comes we when are completely satisfied in Him.  It’s a choice to be content with where we are and what we have. Joy is a deep rooted satisfaction with our lives despite our circumstances and it changes the perspective from which we see things. 

JOY says, I will gladly do daily household chores because I have a roof over my head that’s  mine
.JOY says, I will listen to my name called a million times a day because that means I am surrounded by people who love me and need me.
JOY says, I will cook and clean up for yet another meal because when I nourish little bodies, I can nourish little souls.
JOY says, I will go to work every day because I have been given the opportunity to provide for my family.
JOY says, I will endure hardships and sufferings because it’s those things that are designed to produce perseverance in me (James 1:2-3)

Guys, life is about so much more than what it seems sometimes. It’s about the choices we make and the perspective from which we see it. It’s about choosing every day to find the good and seeing life through the eyes of a child. It’s about having faith that believes in the unseen and that the best is yet to come. It’s about finding the joy in a situation that seems the polar opposite. It takes a commitment on our part to look for it and celebrate it. Switch your lens over to the eternal and watch how much more joy you will experience in your life. Proverbs 17:22 says it all, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to walk around wishing for something more all the time. I want to experience that deep rooted joy that only Christ can give. I want to be thankful and satisfied with what He has given me and where He has placed me. It’s all about perspective, and choosing to find the joy every day. It’s all those small things together that make life worth living. <3

Have a great weekend!

Crafty Details

I started by adding some yellow and orange watercolor layers to an index card and drying it with my heating tool. Then, I added some texture with Texture Tiles 5 in Hickory Smoke and Picked Raspberry distress oxide. I then stamped the word “JOY” from Choose Faith in Spiced Marmalade and overlaid the word “choose” in black. I hand wrote Proverbs 17:22 at the bottom and clipped the card into my Bible as a reminder that Joy is a choice we must make every day.