Sunday, October 24, 2021

Praise God!

Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the Lord; I will praise the Lord, the God of Israel, in song. Judges 5:3

Hi Friends!
In this portion of Judges, we find Deborah and Barak singing a song of praise to God. It was a song of victory after God brought defeat to Canaanite adversaries. 

The Bible uses different words for praise. One Hebrew word is "yadah" which means "praise, give thanks, confess." Another Hebrew word is "zamar" meaning "sing praise." This is the word used in Judges 5:3. A third word is "halal" meaning "to praise, honor, commend." It is the root of hallelujah.

The bible commands all living creatures to praise God (Ps 150:6.) God deserves all honor and praise because of who He is. Praising God is what we should do. And when we praise Him, joy follows. How can we praise Him without being joyful? We really can't. So in those hard, difficult times, think about and focus on God, on who He is, His attributes. Praise Him for who He is and joy will follow.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Wonder of Wonders, Faith Wordfetti Too, All in All, and Let's Do This. Don't you love the image of the people with their arms raised? I do! I stamped the images and colored them in with Prismacolor pencils. My pages tend to be simple. It's not about the art. It's about God. It's about His Word.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, October 23, 2021

What is truth?

 Hi friends,

It seems that in the world right now, there are many different competing claims to truth. One expert confidently says one thing, while another contradicts them. One politician claims to be speaking the truth, but those on the opposing side disagree. Even in the church there are competing claims to truth. Some interpret the Bible one way, while others vehemently disagree with that interpretation. It can feel overwhelming sometimes, and one response is just to make truth relative: everyone has their own version of truth and as long as we all remember that, then we'll be fine. But is that the right response?

If we think this problem is just a modern-day one, then we are mistaken. All throughout history there have been competing claims to truth, and alongside those claims there has also been scepticism and cynicism that truth can actually be found. In John 18, we find the trial of Jesus before Pilate, and when Jesus claims to testify to the truth, Pilate asks "What is truth?" Pilate was a seasoned political operative and had seen his share of claims to truth in order to win power. This question that he asks Jesus sounds like one of cynicism rather than genuine seeking, almost as if he had given up trying to find the truth. But the irony was that Truth was standing in front of him, on trial for a crime he didn't commit. 

The reality is that the only truth we can know with certainty is that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and his death on the cross and resurrection enables us to live and walk in the truth. The messages we hear all around us that claim to be truth end up changing like the leaves on the trees when autumn comes, but the cross of Christ stands firm as a witness to truth. When we are seeking to discern truth, we need to continually return to Jesus Christ - his life, death, and resurrection - and ask how Jesus has revealed the truth to us through his Word. Only in Jesus can we know the truth that will set us free from the cynicism and deception of the world around us. 

I wanted to create a messy background on this page with lots of competing elements, so I stamped some images from Grunge Elements 3 over a painted acrylic background, then stencilled the leaves using the Fall Leaves Stencil and different shades of Nuvo Mousse. The lettering was created using the new Letter Tiles Alpha and Love ya Like a Sister Alpha, and I added the little pointing hand from Keep in Touch. The final addition was the cross image from Endless Love, placing a butterfly sticker over the top.

Let's keep our eyes, our hearts, and our minds fixed on the truth found in Jesus Christ.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Like That City

 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

Hi Friends!
We take light for granted. We take for granted that the sun will come up in the morning. We take for granted that when we flip a switch in our homes, light will come on. Do we also take for granted that Christ's light is shining somewhere by someone in this world? Here's the thing, we can't leave it up to someone else. WE are to be that light. Christ told us so in Matthew 5:14. It's our duty as Christ followers to shine the light He's given us. We can't take it for granted. We have to work to shine in this dark world. The great thing about light is that darkness can't compete with it. Darkness can't overcome light. Whenever, wherever, light is found, darkness disappears. So, church, we have a lot of work to do. And we need to start in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities and our communities. But the best news, y'all, is we don't have to do it alone- we do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, God Himself. When we shine Christ's light, we glorify Him (Matt 5:16). And that's our purpose here on earth.

I like the song by Third Day, "City on a Hill." Here are some of the lyrics:
A city on a hill cannot be hidden
Standing tall before all men
To show the things that it's been given
And everything that it can give
Just like that city on a hillside
We got a light that's deep within us
No, don't keep it to yourself
Just remember how you felt
When you first gave your life to Jesus

So how do we shine Jesus' light? We study God's Word and share it with others. We love and serve others. We point others to Jesus. Shine, friends, shine!

Page Details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Wonder of Wonders, Shine Your Light, and Trust in the Lord. I also used the Rise & Shine Stencil. Wonder of Wonders has some great images, one of them being the city I used on the page. I stamped the city and drew the hill with a Micron pen. I colored the hill and sky with chalk pastels. I colored the city with Prismacolor pencils. Then I stamped the words in the sky and handlettered part of the lyrics on the hill.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Be at Rest Again...

Hi friends,

I don't know about you, but I find it all too easy for my soul to not be in a place of rest. Whether that be because of busyness or anxieties or troubling circumstances, it is easy for my soul to be on edge, fraught with a million thoughts and cares. But much like physical rest needs to be intentional for it to be good rest (we have to decide to go to sleep at a particular time, to have a Sabbath, or a holiday), the same is true for our souls.

One of the ways we can intentionally return our souls to a state of rest is to meditate on God's goodness. Psalm 116:7 in the New Living Translation says 'Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.' The NRSV captures the psalmist telling his soul: 'Return, O my soul, to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.' When we meditate on the goodness of God that we have experienced in the past, we are able to tell our souls to rest, because we know that whatever we are facing, God is still good and he will be good to us as his children. 

Whatever we are facing, whether it be external troubles or internal turmoil, we can rest in the goodness of God. Just like when we are physically tired and need to take ourselves to bed, when our souls are worn out we need to take ourselves to the goodness of God and rest there, knowing that God is good and that his love for us endures forever. 

I created the background on this page using gelatos, then stamped the Floral Background image on the top and coloured with coloured pencils and paint pens. The adorable image at the bottom is from the new Wonder of Wonders set, stamped and coloured with coloured pencils. The verse was stamped using a combination of sets: The Lord's Battle, With Love Alpha, and Teeny Alpha

Let's be people to intentionally return to resting in the goodness of God.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Monday, October 4, 2021

A Pattern of Grace and Mercy

"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Timothy 1: 12-17

If you were to ask me which books of the Bible are my favorite, I would definitely say 1 and 2 Timothy. The Apostle Paul's letters to Timothy, a young minister, are packed full of so much wisdom and encouragement. If you consider that they are Paul's last written letters to the church, it makes them even more powerful. 💙

Paul was one of the biggest persecutors of the early Christian church until his miraculous conversion on the Damascus road. He holds none of his history back when he calls himself the foremost, or chief, of sinners. In fact, he uses his testimony to establish the saving and changing power of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. 

I particularly love what he says in this verse:

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 NLT)

Another translation says this:

However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. (1 Timothy 1:16 NKJV)

Paul doesn't hide from his past. He wants his past to show an example, a pattern, of the grace and mercy shown to all sinners by the Lord Jesus Christ. But Paul doesn't just stop there! He lives the rest of his life in the service of Christ so that his entire life may show a pattern of the grace and mercy of Jesus. 

If you have a history that isn't so pretty, read this passage in 1 Timothy and know that there nothing you've done that is not redeemable under the blood of Jesus. Accept his grace and mercy and then continue to live in His grace and mercy that your life may show as a pattern and an example for others. 

Page Details

I used watered-down acrylic paint for the background of this page, then stamped the edges with Versamagic chalk ink to create a pattern of plaid and flowers along the edges. Then I splattered the page with some white paint and set aside to dry. I stamped the cross and flowers on vellum and colored with colored pencils, then used double sided tape to adhere to the page. I then stamped my title and colored in with Uniball white signo gel pen (my favorite brand of white gel pen!). 


I pray we all live in the grace and mercy offered to us by the love of Jesus this week. 

In Christ,