Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Instructions for Christian Living

God offers clear instructions for Christian living. We don't have to guess His will for our lives. He tells us all we need to know to live a life that pleases Him. When Paul writes to the Ephesians, he passes along God's instructions that will bring joy to our lives and will make us effective as believers. Examine Ephesians 4:17-5:20. To highlight the key instructions, I illustrated them in the margin.

1. walk in love--all our actions with others should be done in love
2. speak with purity--the spoken word is powerful; use it to glorify God. (This point is under the "walk in love" tip-in. It flips back to reveal another images underneath.)
3. Encourage others--a simple word of encouragement goes far to lighten someone's load and brighten their day. We should encourage others using God's Word.
4. Have a sweet, kind, loving disposition. Give to others, exercise Christian hospitality.
5. Be wise, holy, and spread the truth of God's World...not the lies of the world.

I used the digi images that come in the Love One Another Printable Bundle from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. It's so flexible. You have the option to print and cut, or you can use the digital images that come in the bundle to create your own printables. It even comes with outline images so you can completely change the color palette for your personal craft projects. These are great for Bible art/journaling, card making, scrapbooks, travelers' notebooks...the possibilities are limitless.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Deep Calls to Deep

Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
(Psalm 42:7-8)


Overwhelmed, broken, staggering with the weight of your sadness. How can heart-deep grief be this painful? In anguish you cry out to the heavens not knowing if you will hear a sound. You wait. Thunder in the background, then a roar that falls over your heart. God explodes into your spirit with His power, might, and presence. In waves His Spirit overwhelms you. The deepest glory of God, the deepest part of who He is, reaches down and grips the deepest part of your anguish. Deep calls to deep. And you know. You know His steadfast love is greater than all your pain, bigger than your doubts. Strength swells within you. The thunder changes to His soft, tender love song whispering through the dark of your night. You respond in prayer...sobbing, trusting, pouring it all out, feeling Him gently picking up your pain...and you feel Him cradle you. The God of your life has rescued you again.

Deep calls to deep...He will pour Himself into your heart.
Deep calls to deep...He sees it all, the depths of you and He wants all of it.
Deep calls to deep...prayer to the God of your life...and you find the Sovereign of the universe right beside you.
He calls. He calls to you.
The background is all done in Kuretake watercolor paints. Letters are stamped using Chunky Alpha from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. Ink from Stampin' Up.

Love One Another Bundle

I took a little break from Bible journaling to create some cards using the new Love One Another Printable Bundle from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  I will be creating a new bundle each month.  This one includes two pages of colored images/text to print and fussy cut or cut out with a cutting machine.  You also get my devotional and an interactive study guide to take you deeper into God's Word.  There are scripture prompts for Bible journaling that coordinate with the images so you know you have plenty of places to use the images if you do Bible journaling. Finally, you also get both color and outline images in digital files so you can manipulate the images (resize, flip, rotate) or color your own to fit your chosen color palette.  So versatile, and a great value for only $7.99.

There is something for every crafter in these bundles.  Cardmakers, scrapbookers, Bible journaling...any paper crafter will find so many uses and tons of possibilities with the bundle. 

To make my cards I used both the digital images and the print out sheets.  Here is the sheet with my customized digital images.  I still need to learn how to use my Silhouette, so I fussy cut what I needed. 

I used the printable sheet to get the heart and rose for this card, but used the digital for my postcard so I could have a white version that was a little smaller.  I stamped the "many thanks" from the set Cocoa Sends Love from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. The heart "ribbon" along the side is from the printable sheet and the rest is designer paper from Stampin' Up!  I make my own crinkle ribbon. 

This heart is the same as in the card above, but instead of using the printable sheet, I used the digi version to print it out a little larger.  That's the beauty of getting the digital files as part of the bundle.  It adds so much flexibility to your creativity.  The sentiment is also from the bundle print sheet.

Who doesn't love a little happy mail, right?  These images (mailbox and bird) are from the digital files.  The sentiment is from the same stamp set mentioned above.  Designer paper and cardstock for all three cards is from Stampin' Up! 

Hope you'll check out the bundle and all the new February releases from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.

Monday, February 5, 2018

What a Savior!

For he grew up before him like a young plant, 
and like a root out of dry ground; 
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, 
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, 
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; 
and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, 
and we esteemed him not. 
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, 
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; 
he was crushed for our iniquities; 
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, 
and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53: 2-5

I cannot read this passage of scripture without crying. It so powerfully shows what Christ was willing to endure for our salvation. We may forget that Elohim (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is the author of all scripture. Therefore, Jesus "wrote" what was going to happen to him when God inspired Isaiah to pen this passage. When Jesus walked into the synagogue and was handed the scroll containing Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:16-21), he was being handed words he had authored. He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. Likewise he authored Isaiah 53, so as Christ set his face toward his final entry to Jerusalem, he knew EXACTLY what he was facing. He knew the hatred of hell was about to fall on him. He knew he would be ridiculed, tortured, and hung. He knew he would carry the weight of the sin of mankind, making the weight of the cross nothing in comparison. He knew how many lashes he would receive, he knew he would be beaten beyond recognition as a human face. But he also knew that enduring all this would open the way for our salvation. When we sing the words from the hymn What a Savior, we proclaim our knowledge and brokenness for what he endured for us. What a Savior that he would love us this much!

The background is sponged with three colors. I tore the heading from an old hymnal to put at the bottom. I used a new stamp (What a Savior) and inked it with the same three colors, blending the colors on the stamp. I added the fussy cut images from Good News set. Finally I used a splatter stamp from Grunge Elements and a shimmer ink from Stampin' Up! to create symbolic tear stains on the page. All the stamps are from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.

Sets Used:

Friday, February 2, 2018

A House for God

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
  Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, 
to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 
but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. 
And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence 
and our boasting in our hope.
Hebrews 3: 4-6 (ESV) 

When my husband and I married, we had a small but precious service.  My sons were 7 and 10. I had sheltered them and provided for them for seven long years as a single mom.  Our older son barely remembered his father and our younger son was born as our marriage was dissolving.  They never saw their dad from that point.  So they were starved for the attention, love and protection of a father.  When dating David, I took such joy in how their eyes would light up every time this man of God stepped into our home.  God taught me many things as a single mom, and I would never trade that time of deep dependence on Him.  He took the ashes of my life and made it beautiful.  The day David and I married was a miracle for me.  But not just for me, for my sons too.  They had a daddy! When we said our vows, we asked the boys to come up on either side of us and they said vows too, promising to honor, love and obey their parents. Then our parents came up.  David's parents stood on my side and mine on his and they said vows too, to pray for us, to encourage us and to continue to be a picture of a Christian marriage before us.  That day we melded as a big family with Christ at the center.  With all of us standing around the altar, my sister and a friend sang a popular song of the day, Household of Faith.  That was 30 years ago, and God has blessed our little household of faith in indescribable ways. 

Hebrews 3:4-6 describes the household of God.  From Moses, the faithful servant of God in the Old Testment, to early believers to today's, we are the household of God.  Our faith in the ever-faithful God holds us together.  The faith of Moses served as a testimony of what was to come in Christ.  His faith was counted to him as righteousness and ushered him to the front door of the household of God. Christ in us, seals us as His children and opens the same door for us.  Believers are a household of faith.  It is the indwelling Spirit of God that makes us a house for our God.  We are His temple, the place where He lives.  This passage shows that Moses was a servant to this spiritual household.  Likewise, we are to honor, maintain and protect the "good deposit," the treasure of the good news of salvation, that was planted in us.  I am a house for my God.  Sitting here even now, thinking that thought takes my breath away.  What a precious miracle.  Just as my boys were lifted high to enjoy the new status of sons when my husband became their father (he quickly adopted them), so too each of us has the joy and delight of falling at the feet of our good Father.  We stand arm in arm with other believers around the altar and sing, "We are a household of faith!"  

To illustrate this passage of scripture, I used watercolor paints and splashed on color, leaving lots of white, other than more color over the verses.  I combined sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps featuring the new February release, Love Your Neighbor, that has the most adorable collection of houses.  The Praise God sunburst over the house is from the set Exclamations.  I used the clouds in Love Your Neighbor to create the shrubs.  The fonts are all stamps, Classy Script Alpha, and the rest of the words are from Love Your Neighbor.  The crosses came from the Good News set.  I did all the coloring with PrismaColor pencils.

These are all amazing sets, so versatile and fun.  Follow the links to the store to get yours now. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Keep It Clean!

This is a quick and fun page to represent the book of Leviticus. It might seem that Leviticus is full of detailed, tedious rules and regulations that we can't imagine following today, but we need to remember where God's people were in the process of His purpose. God was creating a people set apart, a people who would be holy because they followed a holy God. As His people, they needed to be pure and sanctified so God established the way for that to occur. Their obedience to rules for clean living would contribute to having clean and pure hearts before the Lord. 

If you were to summarize the book of Leviticus and its application for us today, it would be "keep it clean." The page is intended to be perky and fun, but it actually serves as a sobering reminder to me to live a clean life. Our bodies are houses for God's Spirit. We need to try to keep them free of contamination...a challenge in our culture I know. We need to keep our minds free of contamination. Our thoughts, words and actions all need to reflect that a pure, high and holy God lives within us. The little things do matter and Leviticus certainly reveals this truth. The details of God's commands show us that He cares very deeply about the details of our lives and how we are living them. We cannot look at Leviticus and think it is entirely irrelevant to our culture. We know Christ brought a new covenant and with it God freed us from the law, from some of the former obligations to attain righteousness. Believers were given a new freedom from some of the dietary laws, for example, but they were not excused from keeping themselves clean, pure and uncontaminated. We would probably all do well to continue to follow the health regulations of scripture, not in a legalistic way, but to enjoy the gifts of grace God gives us. We are well served by examining our lives, what we take in mentally, physically and emotionally and making sure we are keeping it clean!

I used some delightful stamps from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps to design the page: How Tweet, Silhouettes: Tall Grasses, Shake It Off Lowercase Alph, Seek Him. I just hand drew the bird bath, stamped the rest, drew the clothesline and punched out the hanging hearts. I used Copic markers for coloring, and Stampin' Up! inks for all the stamping.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

His Word Is A Fire!

 But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," 
his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. 
I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot 
(Jeremiah 20:9). 

Hopefully the verse and art sufficiently expresses my heart!

Watercolor paints enhanced with PrismaColor pencils. I used Sweet n Sassy Stamps: Skinny Uppercase Alpha and Rebecca Script.