Monday, October 26, 2020

The Time is Now

 Hello, friends!  I want to talk about time today, both the passage of it, how we use it and I want to pose a question to you.  What are you waiting for?

Many people believe they will have time to "get right with the Lord" before they die, but that's not always the case.  We've all heard some version of the saying, "you are not promised tomorrow".  The Bible says it in Proverbs 27:1, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring".  Basically friends, we all have appointments to leave this world and to go on to what is next for us.  We don't know when our time here is up.  Where you go after you leave this world is all dependent upon whether you 1) know and confess that you are a sinner, 2) believe that God sent His Son, Jesus to save us and 3) that He saved us by dying on the cross, redeeming us with His blood.  

Please, if you're not saved, don't put it off another day, for we are truly not promised tomorrow.  The time is now.

Now for the saved, I pose the same question to myself and to you....what are you waiting for?

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2:

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, 

"In a favorable time, I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you."  

Behold, now is a favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.


Paul is talking to fellow Christians and urging them to get to work for God.  David Guzik said this in a study guide, "God has an acceptable time for us to work with His grace.  God has a day of salvation that will not last forever. This is no time for Christian lives consumed with ease and comfort and self-focus.  It is time to get busy for the Lord and to be workers together with Him." 

Mmmm, that stepped on my toes and gave me a reality gut punch.  I mean, souls are at stake and what am I doing to save them???  I tend to live a life at ease and comfort and self-focus.  But here's what I've realized, you don't have to be a missionary, traveling to distance lands to save souls.  There are souls all around us, every day that need to hear the good news.  We all have family members or neighbors or co-workers that we could share the gospel with.  The time is now.

Artsy details:

I began this page by stamping the large peony from Encouraging Peonies at the bottom of my page.  I found this beautiful hour glass image online and printed it to a size that would fit nicely on my page and trace it.  I used Old Fashioned Alpha to stamp out my title.  It was beautiful with just the black and white ink detail.  I debated on coloring it, and finally decided I would watercolor the image.  I love how it turned out.

I pray you are safe and well.  Until next time, catch up with me on Instagram and Facebook @simplyjillsjourney. 


Sunday, October 25, 2020

I'm Coming, Lord!

 O You who hear prayer, to You shall all flesh come. Psalm 65:2

Dear Friends,

Wow, what a year this has been, right? So many uncertainties and upheavals have occurred. But, in my life at least, there have been many blessings too- more time with family, rest from work, more time of prayer and Bible study. We live in a world where many do not know our great God. But, one day, as Psalm 65:2 tells us, ALL flesh will come to Him. To those of us who know Him, this verse also reminds us that He hears our prayers. Whatever may be on your mind, friend, tell Him! Come to Him. Rest in Him. Make time in your day for Him. It will change your life!

When I read this verse, I thought, "I'm coming, Lord, I'm coming!" And the good news is is that He is waiting for each of us with open arms.

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Welcome Home, Vintage Van, All of Me Alpha, Shake It Off Alpha, Texture Tiles 4, Fill Me Up, and Gear Up. I spritzed my page with water first and then applied acrylic paint. As needed, I spritzed more water to blend the colors a little. I stamped the words and scene directly on the page. I want them completely black. So, after stamping, I went over the images with a black marker. I stamped the van on sticker paper so it would stand out. I colored it with alcohol markers.

I hope you have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Hear & Practice...

Hi friends,

I don't know if anyone else went to Sunday School when they were young and sang "The wise man built his house upon the rock..." which leads to "and the rain came tumbling down." (Apologies if you now have that song on repeat in your head for a while!) 

Having sung the song many times and heard the story told, I assumed that to build your house on the rock meant to build your life on Jesus. That sounds right, doesn't it? But that's not exactly what this passage of Scripture says. In Matthew 7:24 Jesus says, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of wine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Then in verse 26 he goes on to say, "But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand." Notice that in both of these scenarios, the men heard the words of Jesus? But it isn't enough just to hear them - they must be put into practice.

As a piano teacher, I have for many years encouraged my students to practice regularly - after all, that is the only way they are to grow in their proficiency on the instrument. When I read these words of Jesus, I think about what 'practice' should look like in the life of a person who wishes to build their house on the rock. I think it looks like taking Jesus' words seriously and prayerfully asking the Holy Spirit to show us where and how they apply to our lives right now, then acting upon these words... repeatedly. After all, practice is a repeated thing, not a once-off action. We can't claim to be building our lives on the rock if we obeyed Jesus' words once, 10 years ago, but haven't since! 

I'm personally convicted about how easy it is for a gap to appear between my reading/hearing or Jesus' words (which really include Scripture as a whole, as it is God-breathed) and the practical ways it is applied in my life. I need to be more intentional about identifying how my daily actions are being shaped, challenged and changed by listening to Jesus' words. 

I used the Welcome Home set on this page to stamp the houses and their roofs in different colours, then added some shading with coloured pencil. The rock and sand were painted with acrylic paints, and the sky was created using gelatos and a bit of stencilling using Versafine ink. The text was stamped using a combination of Loop da Loop Alpha, Mini Grunge Type Alpha and Old Fashioned Alpha. Here are the sets I used:

Let's be people to not only hear the words of Jesus, but actively put them into practice in our daily lives.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Comforting Others Is a Gift


2 Corinthians 1:3-4
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

Unfortunate things and hard time happen to all of us, just as God said it would...

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

God knew we would have suffering in our lives, and his gift to us is peace. The peace he gives to us surpasses all understanding. And what a gift it is! Trials in our lives can leave us completely and utterly drained and exhausted. I know personally there are times that I've cried so many tears I think I completely ran out of them! 

But other than the gift of peace, we also gain the gift of experience that we can then share with others and use to comfort them in return. I know it sounds like it kind of sucks. "Hey, I don't want to suffer just so I can comfort others! That's no fun!" But, it's really just a silver lining, a precious gift. A way we can turn a negative situation into a positive. 

The apostle Paul was a man who endured many tribulations in his lifetime. In the letters he wrote to the church he describes all the hard times he faced and how God helped him through each of them. His letters have become instrumental in the lives of those he knew and to the generations of people that have read them in the bible since then.

On a personal note, losing my dad almost 2 years ago (wow I can't believe its already been that long!) was the most traumatic thing I have experienced in my life so far. It was a real struggle that first year but it has gotten easier to deal with over time. But, I have come to learn personally that from that experience, I have in turn been able to give pieces of advice to others going through similar situations. People find a lot of comfort in the simple fact of knowing they aren't alone in a dark time.

The reason I painted Reese's peanut butter cups on my page is because are one of my favorite types of chocolate. Chocolate is ALWAYS a physical comfort to me. If I'm sad, hurt, stressed, mad, so many emotions seem to feel better with chocolate! So that's my little physical comfort that I seek in those moments. 

But, when my heart is heavy, stressed and not at peace, God is ALWAYS my first go-to source for comfort. And he never disappoints! 

Stephanie Gammon

Mini Grunge Type Alpha 

Bold & Outline Alpha 

Bitty Minnie Alpha 

Grunge Elements 2

Monday, October 12, 2020

Is Not My Word Like Fire?

Hey friends!  I want to talk about fire this week and how God's Word is like fire, just as He says here in Jeremiah 23:29.
Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord,
“And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?"

First, fire purifies and cleanses.  Wildfires clean out the dead and decaying underbrush and trees in forest, allowing for new, healthy plants to take root and grow.  Much the same way, God's word clears the decay out of our lives and makes room for fresh starts and new growth.  Psalm 119:9 says "How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word" and in John 15:3, Jesus says, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you."

Fire also provides light.  Before electricity, homes were lit by candle light and oil lamps.  God's word also lights our paths and drives out darkness. The Bible points us to salvation, which God wants for us all.  Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path."

Fire can also burn.  God's word touches our conscience and burns our hearts when we behave in ways that are displeasing to the Lord.  It allows us to feel what grieves Him.  Does your conscience burn when you read Matthew 5:43-48?  Mine does!  

One of my favorite attributes about fire is that it warms us when we are cold!  There's nothing better than coming in from the cold and being able to warm up by a crackling fire.  God's word does that for us as well.  It encourages us when we are down, it melts our cold hearts when this fallen world attempts to harden them and it warms our souls.  Psalm 34:10 says, "...But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."

I wanted to do a stained glass look for this page, so I found an image of one online that I liked and used Procreate to roughly trace it, changing up the shape of the flames in several places.  I printed it and traced it in my Illustrating Bible.  I stamped my title and heat embossed the lettering using black embossing powder.  Then I used an embossing pen to trace my lines and used black embossing powder on my image as well.  I colored it in with watercolor and added a white outline to my lettering.  I used a new set, called Old Fashioned Alpha and my favorite, All of Me Alpha to create my title.

Thank you for checking out my post & until next time, catch up with me on Instagram & Facebook @simplyjillsjourney.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

For This Purpose

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you My power and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16

Hi Friends!

Many people put their hope in government. That the government will make their lives better or fix the problems that we have in this world. But no human leader or government can give us what we're looking for. Only the one true King can. And in Him, my friends, is where we should place our hope.

I'm talking about governments today because in Exodus 9, we find Moses in the middle of his back and forth with Pharaoh, in the midst of plagues. And one of the things God said to Pharaoh through Moses really caught my attention. Verse 16 tells us 3 things:

  1. God put the man who was Pharaoh at that time in that position. Pharaoh may have thought he was Pharaoh because he was a god, but he was mistaken. The one and only God put him there. 
  2. God placed Pharaoh in that position of leadership so that He could show Pharaoh His power. God was revealing Himself to Pharaoh.
  3. God also placed Pharaoh in that position of leadership so that His name would be proclaimed in all the earth. God was glorified through what took place between Moses and Pharaoh and the freeing of the Israelites.
So what does that mean for us? It means that God reigns supreme. No matter what the political parties are doing, no matter who is president, no matter what countries are world powers, God is in control. He is the One who puts people in positions of leadership. And no matter what they do in that position, good or bad, He will use it to reveal Himself and for His glory.

We have an election coming up here in America. But I'm not putting my hope in any political party or candidate. My hope is in my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the one true King. And regardless of what happens in the election, He reigns. And that, my friends, is good news. May His name be glorified around the world!
Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Welcome Home, Old Fashioned Alpha, Marker Alpha, and Bitty Minnie Alpha. For the background, I used acrylic paint. I spritzed my page with water first so that the paint would move on the page more easily and blend well. I stamped the ground, and then used a black marker to fill it in to the bottom of the page. To draw the word bubble, I used a Micron pen. The Welcome Home set is great to make silhouette images like I did on this page, but using colors with the set also makes really cute houses and scenes.
Praying that you place your hope in Him. Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Holy & Godly Lives

Hi friends,

In 2 Peter, the writer to the church undergoing persecution gives a number of warnings and encouragements. Toward the end of this short letter he comes to an important question in the midst of all the struggle and difficulty: 'What kind of people ought you to be?' (2 Peter 3:11) The answer is that they should live holy and godly lives as they await the return of the Lord.

I think it's not hard to see some similarities in application to our lives today. We are going through some pretty rough times, with a global pandemic, political ugliness and uncertainty, many not being able to meet in churches as they are used to, rising unemployment and many other challenges. It is easy to despair or hide away or lose faith and focus on Jesus. But these words from 2 Peter give us a needed encouragement and challenge. In the midst of everything going on, we are to live holy and godly lives.

What does it mean to live holy and godly though? Well, to be holy doesn't mean 'holier than thou' where we look down our moralistic noses at others and think we are better than them. It doesn't mean perfect either. It means to be set apart, to be different, to be consecrated for special use (think about the holy items in the tabernacle). We need to realise that this is our identity as the people of God. We are not to be like the world, to blend in, to become like everyone else. No, we are to stand out as a consecrated people who are a habitation for God's holy presence. And what does it mean to be godly? I think it means that we live in a way that imitates Christ and points to our heavenly Father. We should live lives that reflect the character of God, not the character of the world around us. This is a high and holy calling, but one that we do not have to attempt in our own strength. God has given us his Holy Spirit and his Word to help us as we seek to follow and obey him.

On this page I created a background with acrylic paints (I had to use quite a few layers as I had pretty bad bleed-through from the other side!). The text was stamped with a combination of sets: Playful Alpha, Bitty Minnie Alpha, Joint Heirs and Set Apart. The flowers from Encouraging Peonies were stamped on clear sticker paper with Stazon ink, cut out, stuck to the page and coloured with Derwent Lightfast pencils. Here are the sets I used:

Let's heed Scripture's exhortation to live holy and godly lives in these challenging times we are facing.

Be blessed...

x Amy x