Sunday, May 30, 2021

Freedom at a Cost

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. Colossians 3:21-22

Hi Friends,
Today, in America, we remember those who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy. People, some we may know, some we don't, who were all willing to fight for the U.S. And, they gave their lives for this country- for us. Americans, let's take time this weekend to remember and honor those who served our nation and are no longer with us.

There was Another who was willing to give His life for our freedom, our Lord Jesus Christ. And He, not only freed us from sin, but from having to live according to legalism. Jesus fulfilled the Law, and because of that, in Him we can claim His righteousness. Wow! There is nothing we can or have to do. Jesus completed the work. All we have to do is believe in Him, our sweet Savior.

Our freedom, whether the freedom we enjoy in America, or the freedom we enjoy as believers, came at a cost, a very high cost. Honor those fallen. Honor our Lord and Savior above all.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Like a Sunflower, Grunge Stripe Background, Freedom in Christ, Way Maker, & Grunge Elements 3. Grunge Stripe Background is FREE with a $60 purchase in June! I used distress oxides for the background. The sunflower bloom was stamped on a hymnal page, cut out, and glued to the Bible page. I used a colored pencil to color in the stem.

Have a blessed week, friends. Andrea

Monday, May 24, 2021

Covenant Marriage

Hello friends! 

I'm popping on today with a page I made from sermon notes from a message titled:
It's Not That Complicated: 
Do you have a Contract or Covenant Marriage?

You know how you hear something, and then you hear it over and over again and you feel like the Lord's really trying to get your attention? That was this "covenant marriage" theme for me! I heard the sermon a few weeks ago and then that whole week, I saw several posts and heard several people talk about a covenant marriage. For me, it was a new concept. I've never heard the topic of marriage put quite like this - as a comparison between a covenant and a contract. 

"And the man said: 'This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called "woman," for she was taken from man.' This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame."
Genesis 2:23-25

I want to share with you a few of my notes and takeaways from the sermon. 😊

Marriage is a covenant between man and woman and before God. It's an incredible and sacred gift from God ultimately intended to point people to God. After all, he is the One who first established a covenant. 

We often approach marriage like a contract rather than a covenant, but there is a difference between the concepts of a contract and a covenant. A contract says, "I will protect my rights and I will limit my responsibilities." A covenant says, "I will lay down my rights and I will pick up responsibility." A contract protects me first, while a covenant put the other party first. 

As a wife, marriage is not about my rights and my conditions - it's about my commitment to loving my husband even when he's unlovable or doesn't love me back. 

(**Disclaimer: When I talk about covenant marriages, I am not in any way including abusive relationships. Do not stay in an abusive relationship for any reason. God would never want a husband or wife to stay in an abusive relationship and risk danger to themselves or their children. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out and get help.)

So what am I laying down in a covenant marriage? (I'm a sucker for a simple, three point message so here ya go! 😅) 

1. My priority 
Apart from my relationship with God, there is no other relationship that has priority over that of my marriage and my husband. God, husband, children, everything else - that should be my order of priority. Commit to myself that no person or thing come before my husband but God. *newsflash: if anyone else starts to come first, I'm out of covenant!
2. My ownership
My spouse is the co-owner of my life. We became one flesh when we got married and I am no longer the sole proprietor of my life. We are responsible for each other. 
3. My privacy
There are no secrets! 

What am I picking up in a covenant marriage?
1. Unconditional love
2. Honor
3. Submission

Love is a feeling sometimes and a choice all the time.

So, let me ask you... Do you think of your marriage more as a covenant or a contract? Are you more worried about protecting your rights, or laying down your rights? I know for me, thinking of my marriage as a covenant with my husband shifted my mindset and I definitely feel like it was something the Lord wanted me to think on. 

I hope it encourages you to pursue a covenant relationship with your spouse. 💗

Page Details

This was honestly a very simple page to create. I wanted to think more on my notes from the sermon and have lots of room to write! I used the Count Your Rainbows stamp and die set, and the Sweet & Simple Alpha stamp sets to to create this page; as well as a whole lot of splatters and color! 🙌

Have a very blessed week in Christ!


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Walking in Trouble...

 Hi friends,

It goes without saying that we all walk through times of trouble in life - none of us are exempt. If the last year has taught us anything then it should teach us that trouble can unexpectantly and traumatically interrupt our lives, and it can last for a short while or for much longer than we would like or imagine. The stories that are recorded in the Bible also show us that trouble is common to people of every time and place (we can also study history to see this). In fact, in Scripture we have been given not only stories of trouble, but the way people responded to it.

In the Psalms we see people wrestling with their emotions in response to the trouble they are experiencing, whether externally or internally. We have been given the gift of many lament psalms which show how we are to come to God in our trouble, not pretending that everything is fine but pouring out our heart (even our complaint!) to God. We have also been shown that it is possible to stand firm in the confidence and hope we have in God, knowing that he will preserve us during the trouble, even before he brings us out of it.

Psalm 138:7 says 'Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.' There are a couple of things in this verse that struck me. First, it says 'in the midst of trouble' which indicates that this it not a wish that everything would get better in a hurry, that the storm would blow over, or that things could get back to normal. No, the psalmist acknowledges that he is still walking in the midst of trouble, yet it is right in the middle of the mess and turmoil that God is there, preserving and saving. Secondly, the word 'life' struck me, because while the psalmist may have been talking simply about being kept physically alive, I think it could mean more than that. Perhaps it is a statement of faith in God's ability and willingness to preserve abundant life, even in the midst of trouble. We don't have to just survive the trouble, but we can thrive within it with the help of God. 

On this page I created a background with gelatos and a baby wipe, stencilling some Nuvo mousse over the top using the Puffy Clouds and Grunge Dots stencils. The boots are a new digi set this month called Cute Boots. I printed it on clear sticker paper and coloured with coloured pencils before cutting out and sticking to the page. The verse was created with a combination of sets: School Days Alpha, Messy Stamped Alpha, Trust in the Lord, His Love, and Life in Jesus

Let's be people who cry out to God in our trouble, knowing that he preserves our life and gives us his life in the midst of whatever we may be facing.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Monday, May 17, 2021

God of the hills and valleys

Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, "Thus says the Lord: "Because the Syrians have said, The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys," therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 
- 1 Kings 20:28

King Ahab of Israel and King Ben-Hadad of Syria had long been in conflict with one another. Many battles had been fought between the two countries. In 1 Kings, we again see the leaders coming to conflict. This time, however, Syria made a grave mistake: they questioned the power of the God of Israel.

"Then the servants of the king of Syria said to him, 'Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they. So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their places; and you shall muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.' And he listed to their voice and did so." - 1 Kings 20:23-25

Ben-Hadad's army leaders thought that the Israelite God could only help them while they fought in the mountains, and that their God would have no power if the battle was fought on the plains. They wrongly assumed that the Israelite God was confined to the hills, and would not, or could not, come down from them. Thus, they advised Ben-Hadad to change the fighting ground from the hills to the plains, where they would surely have the advantage.

Big mistake!

God took the bad theology of the Syrians as a personal insult. He is God the Creator of all heaven and earth. From the highest mountain top to the lowest valley, He created it all! He is not confined to one space, He is omnipresent and omnipotent. He is not a god created by human hands, He is the God of ALL - both the hills and the valleys. Because the Syrians had blasphemed God and His power and omnipotence, God gave Ahab the victory to preserve the honor of His own name. 

"And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left. And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber." - 1 Kings 20:29-30

If you go back and read a couple chapters before, you will find the story of Elijah and his encounter with Jezebel and the prophets of Baal. We all know the story - Elijah confidently proves God's mighty power and defeats the prophets of Baal. Jezebel is so enraged she calls for Elijah's death, and Elijah runs for his life. In a matter of days, Elijah goes from an extreme high to an extreme low. So low, in fact, that he just wants to lay down and die.

"And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And  he prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! No, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'"

You know what happens? An angel of the Lord comes to minister to him in the wilderness, and then the Lord Himself speaks to Elijah in a still, small voice to encourage and direct him in his next steps.

Elijah's high is quickly followed by a low. This is the way of life, even in our spiritual life. Our highs are often quickly followed by our lows. But as Elijah shows - God is with us in both the highs and lows of life. He is the God of the hills and valleys, the Creator of all; and He is the God of the highs and lows, the Comforter of weary hearts. 

My friends, I pray that your heart would be encouraged today knowing that our God is the God of the hills and valley, the highs and lows of life. There is none like Him, no not one. Just as God proved His might to the Syrian army, just as He comforted Elijah in the wilderness, so will He do for you. 💙

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Go and Tell

Hi Friends!
The state of our country and our world is constantly on my mind. So many people are hurting. So many people are lost. So many people need Jesus, and many or most don't even realize it. And, the church- who should be loving people and helping these people find Christ- is all too often the reason people turn away from Him. It's simple. We are called to share the gospel: Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We are called to love: Mark 12:31a, "The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself." and John 13:35, "By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." 

If we don't love those we're sharing the truth with, odds are they won't hear the truth. They will just feel judged. There is right and there is wrong. But it's not our place to beat people up with the Bible. We are all sinners; everyone of us. And we believers were all at one time unbelievers. So, we are no better than them. And their sin is no worse than ours in God's eyes. So, let's share the love- HIS love. And, let's share the gospel- HIS gospel.

Go and Tell (vs 1 & 3) by C. Austin Miles
Go and tell unto all the gospel story, 
They wait for the light of His Word;
They wait for the Messenger of glory,
Of whom they as yet have not heard.

O who will tell the story of old'
The story of redemption ever new?
O who will bring them to the fold?
The Lord is waiting for you.

There is One who is standing, waiting, pleading,
He points to His hands and His side;
His wounds for the world are interceding,
Go save them for whom He has died.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Nature Silhouettes and Send Me. For the background, I tore strips of paper, placed the papers on the page one at a time and sponged distress oxides on to make it look like mountains. Then finished the sky last. It's a simple technique that gives an interesting look to the page.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Hidden Under His Wings...

 Hi friends,

There are several places in the Psalms that talk about being hidden under the shadow of God's wings (Psalm 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 63:7). All of these psalms are attributed to David, the warrior king. I find it interesting that a man known for his valour and fighting qualities would regularly choose a metaphor that is so gentle, maternal and nurturing to describe God's protection of himself and others. 

What I found particularly surprising is how David uses this imagery in the middle of a prayer of deliverance with so much language of peril and violence (Psalm 17). He writes of deadly enemies who track him down and surround him like a hungry lion ready to tear into its prey. It seems odd that in the middle of this language that conveys the strength and danger of lions, he chooses to ask God to hide him under the shadow of his wings. When I was illustrating this page it struck me how in the natural, a bird is no match for a lion! Yet David knows that God's gentle and nurturing protection is far stronger and safer than an roaring lions that may surround him. What an awesome truth for us to remember too!

On this page in my Journaling Psalter I used the beautiful bird and flower images from Singing Praises, illustrated by NinaB. I watercoloured the images and background using Inktense pencils and an aquabrush. The verse is also from this set, which makes this a super simple page using only one stamp set (highly unusual for me!). All of Nina's stamp sets are on sale for 25% off at the moment, so it's well worth checking out her amazing artwork in store here.

Let's choose to turn to God and find refuge under his gentle yet strong wings, no matter the danger or difficulty we may be facing.

Be blessed...

x Amy x