Friday, January 12, 2018

Faithfully Endure!

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed 
throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, 
and then the end will come.
 Matthew 24:12-14 (Jesus)

This passage contains some of the final instructions and answers Christ gives to his disciples before being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Here, he sits on the Mount of Olives engaging in a very private, personal conversation with the disciples.  They have finally understood that Jesus is preparing to die, but that he will come back to them.  But they also know that there will be an end to "all things." So they ask him what signs there will be so they can anticipate those events. Jesus then explains the turmoil that must come, the persecution, wars and conflicts, natural short, he describes how the whole earth will groan as the end approaches. Jesus never avoids the full truth about the life of one who follows him.  He has already explained that believers will still have troubles, that the world would fight against our beliefs and that ultimately for those who live in the end times, hardships will increase.  So how are we to live in the face of increasing hardship for Christians?

The Christian walk requires endurance.  Whether or not we are living in the last days, we all experience mountain top highs and deep valley lows in our journey. God calls us to keep going, to not give up, to not lose faith. Galatians 6:9 says, And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  And James tells us in the first chapter of his book that we are even to "count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds."  I love that Jesus has given us his holy Spirit to fill us with joy, strength, wisdom, and the faith to endure.  Without the presence of Christ in our lives, these trials would be impossible to endure.  We never have to keep going under our own strength.  God always....ALWAYS provides for us.
Unfortunately, there are many nominal believers, those who say "Lord, Lord" but don't have a personal, heart-transforming, abiding relationship with the sovereign Savior, and Jesus says they will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).  These are the ones who will fall away; their enthusiasm for Christ will fade and they will choose the way of the world rather than the life of a disciple.  Jesus knows we will have times of weakness, and he knows we will not be perfect.  But if the Spirit of the living God is in our hearts, he will help us endure.  We are sealed; we are HIS, and nothing can snatch us from his hand. Our security rests not in what we say we believe or how we act (there are many moral unbelievers); rather, our security rests in what Christ has done in our hearts.  I'm thanking God today that I am HIS!

 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.   
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; 
no one will snatch them out of my hand.  
 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; 
no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.
John 10:27-30

To create my page, I stamped the images first and colored them with PrismaColor pencils, layering and shading.  Then I did the background with watercolor paints, and finally did the hand lettering.  I used the new set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps called Whimsy Bouquet, by stamp designer Rebecca Rios.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A New Heart!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; 
I will remove from you your heart of stone 
and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

Have you ever needed this kind of heart transplant?  Rebellion towards God in any form hardens the heart and left in an unrepentant state, the heart can become as hard as stone.  We typically think of unbelievers having hardness of hearts when, in fact, this malady can come into the life of a Christian as well.  

In Mark 8: 17-19, Jesus addressed the hardness of the disciples hearts that they doubted how He would supply the need even though He had recently fed thousands with little apparent supply.  Hardness of the heart causes failure at a spiritual level...failure to see what God is doing in your midst, failure to hear the prompting of His Spirit calling, challenging or correcting you.  We begin to forget what God has done before when our hearts get hard.  We will even notice that our understanding of His Word and and prayer life begins to suffer.  

Hardness of the heart is serious...and there are insidious sins that creep into our lives if we are not attentive--doubt, distorting God's Word, disobedience, greed, going our own way without God's counsel, bitterness,'ve seen the lists.  The good news is...God stands at the ready to give us new hearts and new spirits when we come to Him for renewal. 

 To illustrate this verse, I chose a simple design of flowers and rather than stamping in black I stamped with VersaMark embossing ink then heat set metallic gold embossing powder.  I just wanted something sparkly on the page.  The background is 3 colors of watercolor paints splattered on the page leaving the focal passage unpainted. 

The flowers are from the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set, Whimsy Bouquet by Rebecca Rios...a favorite designer of mine. I did the lettering by hand...getting better but need way more practice. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, January 7, 2018

You Are a Letter from Christ

"You show that you are a letter from Christ,
 the result of our ministry, 
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, 
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Corinthians 3:3

Few modes of communication are more powerful than the written word. Taking the time to craft ones thoughts can have more effect that casual conversation. When we write, we take the time to choose just the right words to convey our thoughts. That's why this verse in 2 Corinthians is so poignant. In essence it says that our lives are like written letters that commend Christ to others. How well are we crafting that letter?

Others watch our lives. They notice the consistencies or inconsistencies with our words and actions. They see our hearts by the way we treat others, by the way we reflect Christ in all that we do and say. It's so important that we craft our lives in such a way that we are clearly conveying what Christ means to us and the difference He can make in someone's life. The way we handle stress, hardships, challenges, all becomes part of the letter others are reading. YOU are a letter from Christ...what will others read about Christ through the letter of your life?

I saw a Bible journaling page similar to this, but elevating a different verse of Scripture. The minute I saw it, I thought of the verse in 2 Corinthians and knew I wanted to journal it to sear that picture into my mind and heart. I drew the envelope then used stamps from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set, Whimsy Bouquet. I'm finding soooo many uses for that set. I absolutely LOVE it. I used PrismaColor pencils to color flowers and do shading. Vintage Photo distress ink was then sponged on the page to make the envelope stand out better.

January Bible Journaling

I will have another busy month posting some of the newest sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps through my Bible Journaling.  I'll try to stay more current here on my blog, but if you are not connected with me on Facebook, hook up with me there since that's where I stay more active. 

Here's another catch-up post without the devotionals...just my pages.  Again, you can find these on my Facebook page with those thoughts if you are interested. 

I'll be using three of the new release stamps in subsequent posts, so do come back as I post more regularly here...I hope!

Thanks for peeking in!

Busy with Bible Journaling

Have you ever been so busy with creating you get distracted from posting it all?  Now that I'm a design team member for Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps I keep busy creating and post all over Facebook and Instagram but sometimes forget to come back to my blog.  Anyway...I just want to catch up a bit and make sure I'm posting here as well.  Here were a few more of my December journaling designs.

 I used the new SNSS set for December, Scene Silhouettes: Grass, Long-Stemmed Silhouettes, Skinny Lowercase Alpha and Message of Hope...all available at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  You can check out my Facebook Page for the devotional thoughts for each of these pages. 
 I used the new SNSS Scene Silhouettes: Trees and one of their digi stamps called Smiley Snowman.

 A second sample using Scene Silhouettes: Trees...the rest is hand-painted watercolor.

 Scene Silhouettes: Trees.  Hand lettering.

 Christmas Botanicals

Christmas Topiaries

Friday, December 8, 2017

Prince of Peace

And he [Jesus] will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 

In kingdom rule, the Prince is granted authority as designated by the king.  This passage reflects the granting of authority to Christ, the awaited Messiah.  The initial part of the passage gives greater insight on the authority Jesus is given, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders."  Christ carries all governments.  No plan forged by earthly leaders will foil the plan that God has for this world.  God is sovereign above all earthly authority.  Knowing that God is in charge and all will happen as He wills gives me great comfort.  

One of the most amazing areas of Christ's authority is over the realm of PEACE.  It is Christ who grants peace.  Think of when he calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee. He evoked his power and authority over chaos; He had the power to declare peace over the raging waves (Mark 4:39).  He had that authority as the Prince of Peace.  

As we look at our world in turmoil, we see the tempest of the enemy raging. We need not fear.  God is sovereign and the Prince of Peace is still in control.  Our responsibility is to trust and serve Him until he brings an end to the storms we see in our world.  With the same authority, Christ can declare peace over the storms in your own life.  If you are tossed about by a sea of doubt, fear and trouble, the Prince of Peace is near to you.  You have only to call upon Him and he will either quiet the storms that assail you or He will quiet your spirit and reassure you that He is with you through the storm. 

I used two stamp sets to design this simple page, Christmas Botanicals and Peace on Earth, both Krista Hamrick sets, available at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.   Everything is colored with Prismacolor Pencils.

 Peace on Earth                      Christmas Botanicals

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Give Thanks to Him!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100)

May you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day! Before your celebrations and family fellowship...feast on these words from God's heart!

I used stamp sets from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps for the margin wording, PrismaColor pencils and Stampin' Up! inks to color the page and added Washi tape to accent.
Stamps Used: