Free Indeed!

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Version 2

This passage in the book of John is one of the most notable and powerful promises found in the Bible.  We are free indeed!  As we celebrate Independence Day today, and we celebrate the freedom we have in our great country–freedoms that many other countries do not have or enjoy–we remember the price that was paid for this freedom.  Many lives were given for us to be able to experience the freedom we have in the United States.  (For any readers in other countries, the same probably goes for you and the freedoms you have–nothing ever comes without a cost.)
But Jesus was not talking about political, social, or economic freedom.  He was talking about spiritual freedom.  Freedom from the bondage and slavery of sin.  When Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s way in the Garden of Eden, and thereby rejecting His intimacy, they allowed Sin to take this world captive.  All humanity since has been  slave to sin, because “everyone who sins is a slave to sin…” (v. 34). However, Jesus took on humanity, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then died a perfect death, so we don’t have to continue to be slaves to sin.  He gave His life for our freedom.
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The gift of life is free.  It is a free choice.  We are free from sin and slavery IN and THROUGH Jesus.  We have but to accept it by faith, and allow Him to remove the sin from our daily lives.  He removed the burden of sin from our back.  However, we too often take it back again, and again, and again.  Jesus says we are free from the slavery and bondage of lust, of discontentment, of appetite, of worrying, of anger, and the list goes on.  But sometimes we are too comfortable being a slave.  The Israelites often grumbled after escaping from their slavery in Egypt, and longed to go back to their state of bondage!  That makes no sense to us, but we really are no different.  We might want to be free from our sins, but we don’t really want to give them up.
 
I’m not saying it’s an easy thing to do, to give sin up, to be free.  But it is simple.  Jesus has promised, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (emphasis mine).  He adds the “indeed” to emphasize how sure of a freedom it is.  He has already made us free–but the reality of the freedom in our lives depends on our daily submission and surrender to Him.  Our freedom actually comes in surrender. It’s a paradox, but it’s a powerful paradox.
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I hope you have a blessed Independence Day, full of family, friends, fireworks, and freedom!  But brothers and sisters, don’t choose to go back into your bondage to sin.  Accept your freedom, and be free–INDEED!
(I created these two pages with a Sweet’n Sassy Stamps set called Free Indeed and Distress Oxide Inks. )
(I originally posted a version of this on the Creative Worship Blog on 6/2/6/18)

Faith While I Wait

ACS_0239Wait…wait…wait…. It seems I’m always waiting.  In traffic.  In the doctor’s office.  In the checkout aisle.  For my kids to come to dinner table.  For my kids to do the task I asked them five times to do!  For that package to come in the mail.  I really don’t like waiting!  But it’s a part of life, isn’t it?

The worst kind of waiting, however, is waiting on God.  Waiting on God to reveal His plan.  Or worse yet, the long lingering when you already think (operative word, here) you know what God should do, and you just have to wait for Him to work it all out.  Sometimes I even try to maneuver things myself to get things underway, but that always ends up in a mess!  Remember how Sarah and Abraham took matters into their own hands while waiting for the birth of the child of promise?  That got ugly! (Gen. 16) Usually, however, when I think I have it all worked out, that’s when God throws a curve ball in my plans, and thinks end up so much better in the end.  Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways….”  God’s way is wiser and more informed than my way.  And I would do well to just let Him work out all the details.  But how?

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I spent some time in Bible study using “Go God’s Way,” a printable bundle and devotional available at Sweet’n Sassy Stamps, and designed and written by Diane Noble.  My main take away–without revealing too much, because it’s a study worth getting on your own–is that the process involves 1) waiting, 2) worshiping, and 3) trusting.  This study includes Bible verses on each of those three aspects, and whenever you seek the Word for advice, it’s powerful stuff!

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I landed in Psalm 131:2.  This passage talks about quieting ourselves like a weaned child.  It reminded me of one of my children (to remain nameless), when he was newly weaned, who just wanted to rest against my bare chest, presumably to still feel the intimate closeness and touch, even without the nursing.  Oh, if I could just rest in God’s intimacy and closeness while I waited for Him to move!  Faith while I wait!

I NEEDED to creatively journal this worship experience, so I chose to I pulled out some mixed media products.  I have a process video, so you can see how the whole page came together.  Basically, I smooshed, sponged, stamped, colored, stickered, embellished, and then journaled to create this page.  I have the products listed below.  Currently, there are amazing sales going on at Dayspring (like BOGO), and through July 5th, you can take an extra 5% off of EVERYTHING at Scrapbook.com.  Just use code JULYFIVE18.

Thanks for stopping by!  What do you do to help pass the time while you wait?

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Go God’s Way Printable Bundle and Devotional

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“Life in Jesus” Stamp Set
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Dylusions Kit
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Faded Jeans Distress Oxide Ink
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Peeled Paint Distress Oxide Ink
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Blending Tool
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Tool Kit
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Olive You Alphabet Stickers
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456 Count – Word Cardstock Stickers
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Rubber Brayer
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Distress Sprayer Bottle
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Versafine Onyx Black Ink Pad
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Clear Acrylic Blocks
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Heat tool
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Water Brushes

 

 

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Permanent Adhesive
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Fine Point Slick Writer
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Clear Sticker Sheets
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Stamp Shammy Cleaner

Have Faith | Bible Journaling

Check out the process video for this page over at my YouTube Channel or using the link at the bottom of this post.

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2 Kings 4:1-7 tells about a widow in dire straits and desperate for God’s help.  Her husband has died and left her family in debt over their heads, the creditors are threatening to take her sons as slaves if she doesn’t pay the money she owes, and all the capital she has left is one jar of oil.  She needs help, and so she goes to the prophet Elisha.  He tells her to go and borrow as many jars as she can from all of her friends and neighbors.  “Not too few,” he says, having faith that God is going to make a BIG miracle for this woman.  She does exactly what Elisha tells her to do, because she also has faith that God will provide.  In fact, her faith is what took her to Elisha in the first place, and her faith is rewarded.

The widow and her sons go into her home with all the jars, shut the door, just as Elisha tells her to do, and sees God’s providence and goodness unfold.  As she pours the oil from her jar into another jar, it keeps pouring.  It doesn’t stop!  She moves on to the next jar, and the next, and the next.  The oil isn’t running out!  When she has run out of jars, she tells her son to give her another one.  He exclaims there are no more jars to be found.  At that precise moment the oil runs out. She takes the oil and sells it.  With the profits she has enough to pay all the creditors, and then plenty to live comfortably afterwards.  God’s blessings do not stop until they are overflowing!

Despite this story being relatively short–only seven verses–it is powerful and profound!  Faith is what gets us through the tough times.  We may be having money troubles, relationship issues, health concerns, job insecurities, etc.  But we can have faith in the same God who made the widow’s oil overflow.  He will likewise provide for you!  It will likely be in His own unique way, but He will make a way!

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I chose to journal this story using the new Have Faith collection from Echo Park Paper Co.  I cut out a jar with flowers from one of the 12×12 papers, used a few of the stickers, and made a bunting banner out of the “F-A-I-T-H” stickers.  I chose the jar because of the connection to the story.  I added a tag and a circle punch to the top of the page, both cut out from the papers.  This was a super easy page, and I still have SO much of the collection left that I could use for other Bible journaling, cards, and/or scrapbooking projects.

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How do God’s blessings overflow in your life?  Remembering the past instances of His care and provisions can help us to have faith in the future during difficult times.

Supplies:

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.49.46 PM“Have Faith” Collection Kit by Echo Park
Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.55.47 PMWe ‘R Memory Keeper Tab Punch
Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.51.16 PMPermanent Adhesive
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1-inch Circle Punch
Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.53.48 PMEK Success Powder Tool
Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 12.08.06 AMCorner Rounder
    Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.52.38 PMTombow Liquid Glue

My Beautiful Love

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

(Ruth 1:16-17)

My husband and I chose this Bible verse to be read and sung at our wedding almost 23 years ago.  Although the context is Ruth, a daughter-in-law, speaking to Naomi, her mother-in-law, it is a perfect picture of loyalty and commitment in relationships.  The entire book of Ruth describes God’s redeeming love for His bride, the Church.  How fitting, then, for a scripture reading at a wedding!

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My husband is indeed “my beautiful love in Christ” and I’m so thankful for him!  It’s important to journal our gratitude in our Bibles, especially for our spouses.  It’s too easy to think about all the things that annoy us about our spouses, and the things that we would like to change.  But the more we focus on how grateful we are for who and what they ARE, rather than for what they are NOT, the more our love and appreciation grows for them.  I encourage you to journal your love and gratitude for your spouse and/or other loved ones.


I created this page using several Sweet’N Sassy stamp sets, distress oxide inks, watercolor pencils, and a doily and washi for embellishments.  I began with the Brotherly Love and Girl Power sets to create the images of my husband and me.  When using these sets, it is important to stamp and then mask the elements you want to appear on top so you don’t have intersecting lines.  Next, I created the rose frame around the bride and groom with the Itty Bitty Blossoms set, again masking the roses so it appears the greenery and rose stamps work together, rather than conflict with each other.  I stamped a few extra roses and fussy cut them out to use around the page.  I colored the stamped images, as well as sponged the page with distress oxide ink.  I then stamped the words “beautiful” and “love” using the Hello, My Name Is set.  (The stamp actually says “loved” but I masked off the “d”).  I added the doily in the corners, mainly to cover up where I accidentally DROPPED the “beautiful” stamp!  I added a bit of white detailing on the roses with a white gel pen.  Finally, I stamped the music staff texture stamp from Texture Tiles 1 and then I added some wordfetti and washi to complete the page.  

 

Thanks for joining me today! 


–Julie