Sunday, November 27, 2022

Give to Get

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
Hi friends!
Last week my pastor preached on this passage. Verse 6 tells us that if we give generously, we will receive generously. The prosperity gospel pastors often use this verse to further their cause. But Paul isn’t saying give more to get more to store and keep it. In verses 8-11, Paul tells us why we should give generously to receive generously- so that we can turn around and give more! God wants us to use what He gives us for the kingdom. Giving generously isn’t a certain amount, it’s in proportion to what you have to give. And giving generously doesn’t always have to be money, it can be time and skills or talents as well. Verse 7 tells us that when we give, we should give cheerfully. We shouldn’t give just because we’re “supposed” to. God doesn’t NEED our help. He wants us to want to help. When my pastor came to our church, he stopped having the plate passed around during the services. This caused giving to go down. The church lost a significant amount of money. But he didn’t want people giving out of compulsion. He wanted them to give out of their love for God. And since he’s been pastoring the church, God has worked in amazing ways. So remember: Give cheerfully generously and receive bountifully so that you can give even more. I have to be honest, I’m not always a cheerful giver. And I could definitely be a more generous giver. So this message hit home for me.

Page details: I used the following Sweet ’n Sassy Stamps products: Get to the Point Alpha, Living Water, To Do List, Script Stencil, Grunge Gears Stencil, and Chicken Wire Stencil. I created the background with distress oxides and stencils. I colored the letters with a colored pencil. 

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Sunday, November 13, 2022


The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

Hi Friends!
Today I'm in Proverbs 28. Verse 1 is perfectly illustrated using the new Lion of Judah set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. And as I was journaling the page, I was thinking about the meaning of this verse. Who are the wicked? Who are the righteous? Do I flee or am I bold? Hmmmm....

Well, we know that the wicked are people who haven't put their faith in Jesus. And the righteous are people who have put their faith in Jesus. Because the righteous aren't righteous by their own doing. Jesus gave them HIS righteousness. So, we, those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, can now claim righteousness through Him. We once were wicked, but now we are not because of Him. 

Now the question is do we flee (& thereby act like the wicked) or are we bold? I think unfortunately, we often flee. We don't rely on Jesus, on His Spirit that is ever-present within us, on His power. Instead we try to rely on ourselves and that doesn't work out so well. Instead, we should be dependent on Him and through that dependence we find our boldness. Because if we are in Him, we have nothing to fear. As Paul said, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) The woes of this world are great. But our Savior is greater. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Let's be bold in Him.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps supplies: Lion of Judah, Knit Stencil, Mixed Up Stencil, Bubbles Stencil, & gel plate. I inked up my gel plate with distress oxide. I wanted to try that instead of paint, and I like the result! I just tapped the ink pad directly onto the gel plate and pressed the inked gel plate onto the Bible page. I then used stencils to add to the background. I finished the page with the images stamped in black. If you haven't tried gel plates, I'd encourage you to give them a try. You can do all sorts of cool things with them and Korin has some in the SnSS store!

Have a great week! Andrea

Saturday, October 8, 2022

He causes it to happen...

Hi friends,

In Job 37, Elihu describes the majesty of God in creation, including His command over snow, ice, wind, clouds and lightning. In the middle of this chapter, he speaks about the reasons for God's control over the weather:

"Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen."

This verse shows us that there are a variety of reasons why God, in his providence, causes or allows things to happen. The first is for correction. There are times when God uses circumstances to correct something that has gone very wrong because of humanity's choices. That correction is intended to lead to repentance and change, not destruction, which is important to remember. The second is for his land. Sometimes things that happen in nature have nothing to do with humans, but are because God cares about his creation and needs to restore harmony or bring nourishment or balance. This is important to remember as there is a tendency in humanity to think that they are the centre of everything, but God makes clear that his heart is for the flourishing of all creation. And the third reason is for love. Because of God's love for the world, he causes rain and snow to fall. Next time we are tempted to complain about the weather (let's face it, that is a pastime for many!), perhaps we should call this verse to mind.

I used the new Snowstorm stencil on this page using Nuvo mousse over a background painted with acrylics. I also used the new Fun Times Alpha set for some of the text, along with Playful Alpha and Seek Him. I used the new Foliage dies to die-cut some leaves from silver glitter paper, then glued them onto the page to finish.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Trust Him

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a Son. And he gave Him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25

Hi Friends,
We tend to overlook Joseph. He's in the background. He's a supporting character. But think about what it must have been like for him- first thinking Mary had been unfaithful and then being visited by an angel with an even more astonishing message. Even when he thought Mary had been unfaithful, Scripture tells us that he did not want to disgrace her. He didn't act out in anger towards her or try to shame her. And after the angelic message, Joseph was faithful to complete God's plan. He didn't check out and say, "I didn't sign up for this!" He took Mary as his wife and raised the Son of God. Not much is said of Joseph in Scripture; but what is said shows that he was a godly man who trusted God even in difficult and scandalous circumstances. Sometimes God sends us things in our lives that we didn't sign up for. But let's trust Him like Joseph did. His purpose is good.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps supplies: Let Us Rejoice and the Rise & Shine stencil. I stamped the images and colored them with watercolor crayons. The stenciled the rays with distress oxides.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Jump for Joy

 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. Luke 6:23
When you were a kid, did you jump in piles of leaves? If you did, do you remember the simple joy it brought? When we follow Jesus, our reward is joy. Joy to help us through the hardest of days. It's not a joy that comes and goes, the joy from Jesus is one that is ever present. It doesn't mean we never feel sad or hurt or angry or defeated. It means that no matter what we feel, we have hope in Jesus. And that hope brings joy. We can rejoice no matter what because our God is sovereign over all. He works everything for the good of those who love Him. There is purpose in every situation and circumstance we find ourselves in. Let Jesus' joy get you through the good and the bad.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Happy Scarecrow, Falling Leaves, and Playful Alpha. Falling Leaves is FREE with a $65 order in September! And Happy Scarecrow has a die set available. I used watercolor crayons to color the scarecrow.

Have a joy-filled week! Andrea

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Godly sorrow...

Hi friends,

Have you ever experienced someone apologising to you for something they have done, but then they carry on and do that same thing again in the future? Or have you ever said sorry for something that you later repeated? This is one of the things that bothers me most in my relationships, if I'm honest. It has gotten to the point where I have said to someone "please don't say sorry unless you are going to make a change to your behaviour." It is possible to say sorry, to even feel a measure of sorrow for the hurt we've caused (or the shame we feel), but for us to not to change.

In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul contrasts godly sorrow with worldly sorrow. He describes godly sorrow as bringing repentance, which means a change in direction/behaviour, which leads to salvation (wholeness and healing in life). In v.11, Paul describes godly sorrow even further, describing its effects as including earnestness, alarm, longing, concern, and readiness to see justice done. In contrast to this godly sorrow and its effects, worldly sorry is described as bringing death. I think the reason worldly sorry leads to death is because expressions or feelings of sorry without accompanying repentance (change in direction or behaviour) can lull us into complacency which has dangerous consequences. The feeling of sorrow alone, whether being sorry for hurting others or the shame we feel, does not lead to life. Only repentance - turning around and walking in a new direction - leads to life. How connected are our feelings and expressions of sorrow to our changed actions? That is a challenge to us all.

On this page I had already stencilled some leaves using leftover acrylic paint and the Fall Leaves stencil. When I started adding other things to the page though, I realised the leaves were too dark and competed with other elements on the page, so I added a layer of white gesso over the top to tone it down, which worked well. I applied some subtle colour using gelatos around the edges of the page, blending with my fingers. The leaves were stamped and die-cut using the Give Thanks bundle and coloured with Inktense blocks and an aquabrush. The text was stamped with a few alpha sets: Marker Alpha, Classy Script Alpha, Mini Grunge Type Alpha, and Sunshine Girl Alpha

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Fix your Thoughts...

Hi friends,

If you were to analyse your thought life, what would you discover? Are there particular things that your mind gets fixated on? Are there thought patterns you find difficult to break free from? Do you feel like you don't have control over your thoughts and they tend to go wherever the wind of the moment blows? I think for many of us, we face frequent battles in our thought life. 

The writer of the letter of Hebrews seems to think that we can be intentional about our thoughts, when he exhorts the church to fix their thoughts on Jesus (3:1) and later to fix their eyes on Jesus (12:2). The act of fixing our attention on something takes intention. We currently live in a world where we are bombarded by images and videos designed to keep our attention bouncing around from one thing to the next, with messages like "you need this!" or "follow me!" or "improve your life in this way!" It takes significant intention to stop being distracted by all this commotion and to fix our thoughts on one thing, one person: Jesus.

The Bible tells us that what we fix our thoughts on is a choice, and it seems that the study of psychology is demonstrating that this is true (just look at the emphasis on mindfulness in recent times). In Philippians 4:8, we are told that we should think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, and while there are many things that can be described by one or more of these words, there is one person who embodies all of these qualities: Jesus. When we fix our thoughts on Jesus, we are fixing our thoughts on the best possible subject, and in doing so we become transformed more and more into his likeness. Just as butterflies and bees seek out the centre of a flower to draw on its pollen, and they become fixated on that flower, so we should be drawn to Jesus and fix our thoughts and eyes on him, drawing on his goodness and grace.

I used the new Bold Caps Alpha die set to cut out the FIX letters, then added some words from Faith Wordfetti Too to the letters. I stamped the beautiful flowers from Flower Garden, then coloured them and the background with Inktense pencils and an aquabrush, before adding some PanPastel to the background for extra depth. The text was stamped using a combination of Lollipop Alpha, Bitty Minnie Alpha, and All in All. I added a few butterfies from Flower Garden to finish off the page. 

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, August 21, 2022

It's Grace

 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
Hi Friends!
Today we're in Romans 8, the very first verse. And we may take it as granted, but it's pretty amazing what Jesus did for us. For those of us in Christ, there is no condemnation- no punishment. If when we die, we have taken Jesus as our Savior, it won't matter if we murdered someone, if we stole, if we hurt others, no matter how we sinned, we won't be punished. Is that fair? No, it unquestionably is not. It's grace. And I'm thankful in this instance that God is not being fair. Aren't you?
When my girls were growing up, I heard that phrase- it's not fair!- a few times. They had a hard time understanding why certain things happened or why one got something the other didn't. We can have a hard time understanding God's ways too. His ways are not our ways. And we should be thankful for that! While I've never murdered anyone, and I may think my sin is less offensive than someone else's sin, God's grace covers it all. So, it may not be fair. And we should thank God it's not. Because without His grace, we'd all be condemned.

Page Details: I used the following sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps: Down on the Farm, Grace Upon Grace, and Mini Bold Print Alpha. I used watercolor crayons to color the images and background.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, August 13, 2022

On Pearls & Pigs...

Hi friends,

We've probably all heard the phrase 'don't throw your pearls before swine' as this is one of the phrases from the Bible that has made its way into common speech. But have we really thought about what Jesus meant when he said this in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount? When you read the context, it seems a bit of a random comment in the middle of other longer pieces of teaching about taking the log out of our own eye, and asking, seeking and knocking in prayer. So what does this piece of wisdom from Jesus mean for us?

I think the key is in identifying what the 'pearls' are here. Pearls are things of great value that are not easily reproduced, so are treated as treasures. I was thinking about what might correspond to that in our lives today. I don't own any pearls, but there are things in my life of great value because they are not able to be reproduced or manufactured. One of these precious commodities is my time. We each get 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week - no more, no less. And there is no guarantee that we will have tomorrow's 24 hours. That makes time one of my most valuable commodities. The question then must be asked: what am I giving my time to? Am I recognising it as the precious treasure it is and therefore only spending it on things of value, or am I throwing it to the 'pigs' of life. 

It's not that pigs are of less value than other animals, but in the Jewish world that Jesus was speaking to, pigs were considered highly unclean. Pigs have no discernment when it comes to pearls - they don't know that these little round gems are precious. So they trample them. What might be the 'pigs' of our lives today? What is it that doesn't see the value in the pearls of our hours and days and because of this, tramples them? I know for me, one of the most insidious and demanding 'pigs' comes in the form of a screen - whether my phone (social media, internet surfing, etc) or tv (on-demand shows and binge watching). When I was creating this page I was reminded that this wisdom from Jesus applies to my life here and now in the use of my time. Am I reserving the pearls of my hours and days for the things that matter, or am I throwing them indiscriminately to the pigs and getting them trampled? That's a challenge to me - I wonder what the pearls and pigs are in your life?

I used the new Down on the Farm set for the pigs on this page, painting the background with acrylic paints and adding some 'pearls' using the Delightfully Delicate stencil and Nuvo mousse. The text was stamped with a combination of All of Me Alpha, Loop da Loop Alpha, Sweet & Simple Alpha, and Love ya Like a Sister Alpha. I added a butterfly from Made New, white embossed on vellum, to finish.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Work Hard

 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; 
stay awake and you will have food to spare. 
Proverbs 20:13

Hi Friends!
Today we're in Proverbs 20. Verse 13 is talking about work. Sometimes, we think of work as a bad thing. Something that we do only because we have to. But, biblically, work is seen as beneficial- and not because it's financially beneficial! We see work in Genesis with God being the Worker, busy creating the world. When God created Adam and Eve, He put them to work over the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, unfortunately one of the consequences is that work became hard. The work itself was still good, but it would be more difficult, and the result would not always be positive. The important thing is that we should involve God in our work, whatever it is. As 1 Cor 10:31 tells us, we should glorify God in whatever we do. Our jobs should be our ministries.

This verse also speaks to work ethic. The Bible condemns laziness. While there are times when someone may not be able to work, or take care of themselves (and we are called to help those people,) if we are able, we are to work. This verse made me think of farmers. I have never farmed myself. But both of my grandfathers were farmers. And farmers work hard! There are many times that they work from sun up to sun down. They have to get up and stay awake and because they are willing to do that, they produce food for themselves as well as others.

No matter what you do, do it for the glory of God. Remember, work has no value unless God is in it.

Page details: This super cute Down on the Farm set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps was perfect for this verse! There are matching dies as well! I also used 2 alpha sets: Old Fashioned & Playful. I colored the page with watercolor crayons.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Don't Play Church

But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heat to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?" Acts 5:3

Hi Friends!
Today, I'm in Acts 5. You may be familiar with the story of Ananias and his wife, Sapphira. It's a pretty unsettling story. In summary, they sold some property, kept some of the proceeds, and took the rest to the apostles implying that what they brought to the apostles was the entire amount of the proceeds. They got caught in the lie, and both died. Just fell down dead. Right there. It left the people who witnessed it unsettled. And it should leave us unsettled too.

My pastor spoke on this passage last week. And he said the problem wasn't that they kept a portion of the proceeds. The problem was that they lied about it. Even Peter said that it was theirs to do with what they wanted. But they lied- not to man, Peter said, but to God. And my pastor said they were suffering with what he called "perception management." See, they want to be perceived a certain way. Just before this episode, we see in Acts 4:36-37, a man sold some land and he brought the money from the sale to the apostles. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be like that guy. They wanted everyone to think they were just as generous and just as faithful. It's all about perception, right? Here's the thing though- we might be able to trick people, but we cannot trick God. He knows our hearts, our motives, our faith. He knows.

It's easy to sit back and think that we'd never do something like that. But don't we? Don't we all have "perception management" issues? We want people to see us a certain way. Have you ever been fighting with your family before church but when you get there you all plaster smiles on your faces as you walk in? No? Just me? We all do it. We do it when we edit photos before we post them. We do it when we only post the good stuff on social media. We do it when we give time or money because we're "supposed" to. We do it when we try to keep up with the Joneses. But God knows. He knows our hearts and our motives. So let's not worry about what people think. Let's worry about what God thinks. Don't just put on a show. Don't just play church. Let's BE the church Jesus wants us to be. When we struggle with perception management, we must pray for God's help to overcome it. I pray that we can have enough faith in our great God to give Him our ALL, not just some, but all.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Marker Alpha, Skinny Minnie Alpha, My Father's House, Knit Together, Texture Tiles 8, and Serene Silhouettes. I used distress oxides for the background. I stamped the church on a hymnal page. The letters didn't ink evenly, and I ended up liking that look, so I left them that way.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Wash me clean...

Hi friends,

Have you ever wondered why stain removers are such a highly advertised and sought after product? Whether for removing stains from clothes or furniture or carpet, there is a big need for products that will magically remove the ugly stain that ruins our lovely clothes, carpets, or sofas. There is something in us that knows that stains are ugly, that they ruin the look and value of things, and we want to get rid of them. There are some stains that just won't come out though, no matter what wonder-product we apply to them. We can scrub and wash and soak all day, but the oil or ink won't go away. The same is true for the sin in our lives. No amount of self-effort or new year's resolutions or willpower can deal with the stain of sin in our lives. So what can?

Only God can wash us so thoroughly that he can cleanse us from our sin. When King David sinned horrifically by sleeping with another man's wife, then arranging for that man to be killed in an attempt to cover his sin, he had to be confronted by the prophet for him to finally realise the gravity of his sin. When that gravity hit him, he didn't try to make amends himself, but realised that he needed God to wash him clean from his sin. So he wrote Psalm 51 to express that plea to the Lord. And this psalm has been included in our Bible to show us how to pray when we realise our sin. David throws himself on the mercy of God, and realises that only God can truly make him clean. Only God can remove the stubborn stains of his heart. When we are confronted with the reality of our sin, do we hide? Do we try to make things right in our own strength? Do we promise to do better next time? Or do we cry out to God "wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin"?

I created the background on this page in my Journaling Psalter using acrylic paints and gelatos, then stamped the text using a mixture of sets: Script Outline Alpha, Messy Stamped Alpha, Skinny Caps Alpha, and Freedom in Christ. I then stamped the raindrops from Living Water with blue ink and painted them with a few layers of acrylic paint to get the shading and shimmer. I finished the page off with a few butterfly stickers. 

Let's bring our ugly, sinful, stains to the only one who has the power to remove them: let's bring them to the Lord in prayer.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Share God's Love

 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Hebrews 13:1

Hi Friends!
Are you feeling the love? Yeah, me neither. The church has missed the mark on the whole "love" thing. As a whole, we haven't done well with loving those outside the church. And we haven't even been able to love each other within the church very well. Think of all the divisions within the church. This verse is speaking to believers loving one another. There should be unity in the church because we're unified in Christ. And we should love each other not only for our own sakes, but as a testimony. The world is watching. Believers are going to have differences. And that's ok. In fact, God doesn't want us all alike. Those differences are normal and healthy and make us a stronger body- if we let them. We can use those differences to reach the world. The church should be a group of vastly different people who are unified in our diversity by our love of Jesus.

So how do we love each other? 
  • We accept one another as they are. They are sinners, but we are too. We all need a Savior.
  • We are subject to one another. Instead of always trying to get our own way, surrender to God's will and let Him use each of us within the context of the church for His great purpose.
  • Pray for each other- especially other believers we dislike or are bothered by.
  • Forgive each other.
  • Serve one another.
  • Encourage each other..
  • Comfort one another.
  • Bear each other's burdens. We're all busy. But take the time to really care for others.
  • Admonish one another. Be willing to lovingly confront other believers who are living in disobedience. But do it humbly and with the motivation to restore their intimacy with God.
Let's love each other. Let the world see our love. It will draw them to Jesus.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Happy Mail, Send Me, and Trust in the Lord. I used colored pencils to color in the images. Quick tip: Use Gamsol to blend in colored pencil lines so it looks smooth.

Have a blessed week! Andrea
*source: "How to Love One Another...Even Other Christians" Whitney Hopler

Saturday, July 9, 2022

A little or a lot?

Hi friends,

We live in a world where the message we often hear is 'bigger is better,' 'more is more,' and that we should be seeking to grow and gain in many different ways. But what if that isn't the way we are called to live as the people of God? What if there are things more important than growth and gain and having more? What if justice is more important? The writer of Proverbs certainly seemed to think so when he wrote: 

'Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.' (Proverbs 16:8)

We may read this proverb and agree, thinking that this is talking about bribery or corruption in the workplace, encouraging honest work that pays less than dishonest work that pays more. This may well be part of the meaning of this verse, but I've also been thinking about some other applications that may hit closer to home for many of us. I wonder how often we turn away from or ignore injustice because it is inconvenient to gaining what we want, to having more? Here are a couple of examples that come to my mind: How easily do we ignore the injustice of how cheap clothing is made so that we can have more of it? How easily do we ignore the injustice of knock-off products we can buy cheaply whose designs have been stolen from others so we can have more to play with? Are there other areas where we are compromising righteousness in order to gain what we want? These are sobering questions.

As the people of God who represent their Heavenly Father and follow Jesus Christ, we are called to be people who live righteously, who uphold justice, even when it costs us things we desire, even when it requires that we live in ways that are contrary to the culture around us. What examples can you think of where this verse applies? Are there any that hit close to home for you? May God help us live as ambassadors of the kingdom of righteousness.

I used the cute Fur-Ever Friends sets for the images on this page, colouring with watercolours. The text was stamped with a combination of Rebecca Script Alpha, Armor of God, Typewriter Blocks Alpha, and Watch Your Mouth

Let's be people who are content with all we have been given in Christ, and who therefore don't seek gain that is accompanied by injustice.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, June 26, 2022


This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." Jeremiah 29:4-7
When people think of Jeremiah 29, they often think of verse 11. But just a few verses before that, there is a beautiful passage of how to live in circumstances in which you might not want to be. You see, Jeremiah was writing to the Jewish people who had been sent into exile. And that exile lasted 70 years! Yep, not 7, not 17, but 70 years. And God told them to flourish, to build houses and plant gardens, to marry and have families- to build a life, a good life. We may not be living in exile, but there are probably circumstances of your life that are difficult. You may not be living where you want to live. You may not have the life you expected to have. Your community may not be thriving. But God is there just like He was there for the Jews these verses were written to. And He wants you to thrive anyway.

He also told them to pray for their community. The cities they found themselves in, in exile, they were to pray for peace and prosperity. So what should we do? We should PRAY!!

These instructions, although given to the Jews a long time ago, can be applied in our lives. My nation has been struggling and the state of this nation isn’t where I want it to be. But nonetheless, I am to make the best of my circumstances, to build a house and a family, to plant gardens of love and unity and Jesus’ light, to pray for my city, my state, my country- peace and prosperity for them all regardless of whether I voted for the people in office or not. Plant gardens, my friends, and pray. If your city/state/nation prospers, you too will prosper.

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Boss Lady Alpha, Welcome Home, and Love Your Neighbor. To shadow the words, I used a pencil. I love using a pencil because you can erase it if you mess up and make it darker or lighter depending on what you want it to look like.

Thrive wherever you are because God is there too. Andrea

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Seeking & Thirsting...

Hi friends,

Have you ever had a craving for something? I'm sure we all can identify with that feeling of being desperate for a drink of water (or coffee!) or for something sweet, or something comforting. Desire, or thirst, is what drives us to seek the thing that will quench our thirst. When we are thirsty, we become determined, focused, intentional, even desperate.

Sometimes in the Christian life (ok, maybe more than sometimes!), we can live without intention, focus or drive toward God and his Word. We can drift into a spiritual state of ambivalence, with other concerns taking our focus and attention. When I have been in this place, it's been easy to wonder what's wrong with me. Why am I not seeking God like I should? Why am I not more disciplined? And a guilt trip is easy to take.

But what if the problem is not with our seeking but with our thirsting? What if the reason we are not seeking is that we are not thirsty or that we are quenching our thirst with other things? Thirst is natural, but not everything that quenches our thirst is good for us. Sometimes we can quench our thirst with so much coffee or soft drink that we don't drink enough water, which is actually the healthiest way to quench our thirst. What if the same is true spiritually? What if we are quenching our thirst on things that are providing immediate relief but are not truly life-giving? This makes me think: what have I been 'drinking' lately? How am I satisfying my spiritual thirst? The writer of Psalm 63 shows us a vivid picture of what it looks like to thirst for God, and this inspires and challenges me to have that same posture. 

I created the background on this page using acrylic paint and used a few stamp sets for the verse: Refresh My Soul, Seek Him, and Mini Bold Print Alpha. I used the new Special Blooms bundle for the focal image, stamping on watercolour card then colouring and die-cutting before gluing to the page. I added some butterflies from Spread Your Wings and some wordfetti from Prayer Time to finish.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Set Free

 Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. 
John 8:32

Hi Friends,
I'm sure most of you have heard the phrase, "the truth will set you free." Many schools and universities use it as a motto. But Jesus was the One who said it and He wasn't talking about academia. He also wasn't talking of political freedom. That's how the Jews took what He said, but they missed His point. Jesus was talking about spiritual freedom. 

Jesus is Truth. When we know Him, we are free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death. So friends, are you living free? For many of us, we think of freedom as personal independence- being able to do what we want when we want. But Jesus wasn't setting us free do do whatever we want. He was freeing us to fellowship with Him and the Father, and that means we live in a way that we obey Him and choose His will for our lives. As we submit to Christ, to Truth, sin has less power over us. We make choices that glorify God most of the time. We can live knowing that Jesus doesn't condemn us and that while we will experience physical death, we won't experience spiritual death. That is freedom only Christ can give us!

No matter what happens in the world, we will always be free in Christ. 

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Freedom in Christ and Mixed Up Stencil. I used distress oxides for the background.

Have a blessed week! Andrea

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Giving thanks...

Hi friends,

I've been reading a book recently which has challenged me on the practice of giving thanks - both to God and to one another in community. The uncomfortable truth is that I don't give thanks as often as it is needed. Whether it is busyness, self-centredness, forgetfulness, or entitlement, there are many reasons why we fail to give thanks to God for all his many blessings, and to one another for the ways in which they bless us. 

I once heard a preacher say that anything we are not grateful for is something that we think we are entitled to, and many years later I've never forgotten that. In a world that is focused so much on what we are entitled to, what our rights are, fulfilling our deepest desires, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are actually entitled to nothing really. Everything, including our every breath, is a gift from God. I've heard that it is often the poorest countries and communities that actually exude the most joy and gratitude, because they are grateful for every small blessing. What a challenge to so many of us who have so much we forget to be grateful for.

As I was looking at Scriptures on gratitude, I found this one in Psalm 145, which says that all the Lord's works will give thanks to him, and it made me wonder: if the animals and stars and trees can give thanks to the Lord, why am I falling short? I don't know how a deer or a fox or a butterfly give thanks to the Lord (something to look forward to finding out in the new heaven and the new earth I think!), but I do know that for humans to give thanks it requires words. We need to open our mouths in speech or song, or we can write down our thanks in a journal or our Bible or on a keyboard and screen. So I'm making a commitment that I want to grow in gratitude and express my thanks more and more frequently. What about you? What would you say your gratitude quotient is like at the moment? 

I created the background on this page with acrylic paints and the new Grunge Gears stencil with my Gel Press plate, which was fun. The animals from Fur-Ever Friends were stamped on card then die-cut and watercoloured. I stamped some grass from Nature Silhouettes along the bottom of the page before gluing on the die-cut animals. The text was stamped with a combination of Faith Phrases, Women of Praise, Boss Lady Alpha, and School Days Alpha

Let's be people to commit to grow in gratitude, so that it overflows out of our hearts and our mouths.

Be blessed...

x Amy x

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

A Bruised Reed

"a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice."
Isaiah 42:3

I'm sure you've heard the expression "God will never give you more than you can handle." Unfortunately, there's no real biblical truth to that statement. In reality, God will often give more than you think you can handle in your own strength. The Apostle Paul himself says that he and his friends were "so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (2 Cor 1:8)." But then in 2 Corinthians 12, he says:
"So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me form becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

That sounds a lot like God giving Paul more than he could handle!

However, I think it's we easy to swing so far back the other way that we think God will just "pile on" trial after trial, and hardship after hardship, in an effort to "toughen us up" or to get us to rely on Him. This is simply not the case either!

I think a safe place to be is right in the middle. We often experience more than we can handle in life, but the Lord provides his strength and love (yes, love) to navigate the difficult times of life.  

Isaiah 42 specifically speaks to the gentle, loving character of Jesus. David Guzik has this to say about verse 3: "Often we feel that God deals roughly with our weaknesses and failures. Just the opposite is true. He deals with them gently, tenderly, helping them along until the bruised reed is strong and the smoking flax is in full flame." Isn't that encouraging?

"Think again of that reed: something that has been crushed, or hurt by unkindness, a life that is somehow bent and bruised and shattered, without strength or beauty. There is nothing attractive about a reed, and there is certainly nothing very pleasant about the circumstances in which it lives! Usually it grows in a smelly, unsavory swamp. 

We call ourselves Christians, but if you are like me, sometimes you are desperately ashamed of how dimly your light burns. There is far more smoke than fire: so little prayer, so little real testimony, so much depression and discouragement. But the Lord says He will not extinguish the smoking flax." (Redpath)

I read this passage in my personal quiet time last week and I was so overcome by the sweet tenderness of this verse. I am like a reed - a little bent, bruised, and crushed. I feel like things have been "piled on" this year and I was starting to get discouraged. This verse was a sweet reminder that, while I may be bruised, I won't be broken.

If you're feeling a little bruised (like me!) this year, I hope this verse brings encouragement to your heart as it did to mine. There will be things in life that are too much to handle on your own strength. Things that God either allows or ordains. But God has promised to be with you every step of the way, and your gentle Savior will help you along until you are strong again. 💜

Much love in Christ, 

IG: @journalingjoy

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Just Enough

 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, "The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth." 1 Kings 17:14

Hi Friends,
Have you ever felt desperate? I think that's probably what this widow was feeling when Elijah spoke to her. She had so very little that she was planning to prepare the last meal for herself and her son. And Elijah asked her to use what she had on him. When we're desperate, we often don't think about others outside of our closest family and friends, certainly not a stranger. But when Elijah made his request, he also gave her a promise from God. She would have just enough. Just enough flour and just enough oil to make it through until the end of the drought. And she had just enough faith to do what Elijah asked.

Just enough. We often think that "just enough" is not enough. In the western world, it's all about excess. We want more and more. We have to keep up with the Joneses. We need the newest, the biggest, and the brightest.

I think this story is beautiful in the fact that God provided for them but it wasn't all at once. It wasn't in excess. It was just enough. God can certainly give us more than enough and He often does. But sometimes we need to be satisfied with just enough. And when we've got just enough, aren't we more dependent on God? Aren't we more likely to go to Him? When we have more than enough it's easy to begin thinking we are self-sufficient.

Just enough can be hard for those of us used to more than enough. But what a rich experience it can be!

Page details: I used the following Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps sets: Boss Lady Alpha, Watch Your Mouth, and In His image. Simple page of stamping. I used a pencil to shadow the letters.

Have a blessed week! Andrea 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Dear Friends,
This is one of my favorite verses! I've journaled this verse many times, and even written a blog on it before. And here it is again! LOL 

This verse shows how amazingly forgiving our God is. It tells us how far God separates us from our sin when He forgives us. Have you ever thought of how far the east is from the west? Think about it. If you travel north, you eventually get to the North Pole and start going south. However, if you travel east, no matter how far you travel, you will NEVER start going west! And if you travel west, you will NEVER start going east. So, that's how far God has removed our sin from us- it can't be measured because it's never ending! Wow! Wow! Wow!

It can be hard for us to understand just how forgiving our God is because we tend to be just a bit less forgiving, right? I know I'm far, far less forgiving than Him. But Colossians 3:13 tells us "as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." Eeeek!  OK, so God wants me to forgive when someone says they're sorry. Yes. But, what about when they aren't sorry? Guess what, God still wants us to forgive them. Our forgiving others is NOT dependent on whether they are sorry or necessarily deserving of that forgiveness. We need to forgive others solely because God forgave us, pure and simple. And honestly, when we forgive, it does as much good for us as it does the other party because we can let go of the bad feelings. Is it always easy to forgive? No. But remember, God is with you. He has removed your sin as far as the east is from the west!! He will help you to forgive others just as He has forgiven you.

Page details: I used a brand new alpha set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps called Boss Lady Alpha. It's great! I love all the alphas!! And there are dies to go with it!!! My black ink was a little funky. I didn't get good coverage on all the letters for some reason. That's what you see in the photo (the letters that look shiny), but I just decided to go with it. :) I also used 2 SNSS stencils: Starry Night and Sunburst. The Starburst is a 2 step stencil and really cool!

Have a blessed week, and remember how forgiven you are! Andrea