Just Breathe

ACS_0226

Do you ever count the breaths you take in a day? Of course not! It would become too tedious.  “The average person takes between 17,280 and 23,040 breaths a day.” (Brown, blog.epa.gov)  When you exercise, you breathe even more than that.  Anyone who has struggled with pneumonia, COPD, or other respiratory issues might be able to appreciate how precious those tens of thousands of breaths truly are.  Because without breath, there is no life.

Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life,” (NIV).  It is God’s breath that gives me life.  It all began in the Garden of Eden, when God formed Adam by hand and breathed into him His breath:  “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen. 2:7)  Without God’s breath, there is no life.

ACS_0227

My son lifeguards during the summer, and, among other training, he needs to maintain his CPR certification.  Why? Those breaths that he might have to supply for someone else not breathing could actually save their life.  He would be providing the much-needed oxygen to their brain.  But breathing can also provide more than that.

My watch periodically notifies me to breathe.  (Any other Apple Watch wearers out there?) Not because I’m NOT breathing.  I’ve set this notification so that I can sometimes stop and JUST breathe.  When I actually pay attention to this notification I stop, and slowly and deeply breathe for one minute.  I pause from my busyness, focus in on my breathing for 60 seconds, and slowly breathe in and out.  This short process relaxes my tense muscles, calms my stress, and truly benefits whatever I’m working on at that moment because I’m better focused.  ACS_0228

 

What I’m starting to add to this process is a “thank-you” with each breath.  Thanking God for the 17,280-23,040 breaths He provides a day for me to live.  Thanking God for the life He’s given me.  Thanking God for the eternal life I have through Jesus.  Breathe… Thank you… Breathe… Thank you…

I encourage you to breathe sometimes.  Well, I encourage you to breathe ALL the time!  But I mean to “just” breathe.  To slow down, breathe deeply, and to thank Him for each breath.  Imagine His breath filling your lungs.  Friends, it is indeed the breath of God which gives you life.

Art talk:  I used three Sweet’n Sassy Stamps for this page:  Life in JesusBitty Minnie Alpha and  Texture Tiles 3 sets for this page.  I “smooshed” Faded Jeans and Broken China Distress Oxide Inks for the bluish background.  Some Documented Faith washi and Illustrated Faith tabs and wordfetti stickers topped the page.

Thanks for stopping by!

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.
ACS_0208
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.
ACS_0205
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?

ACS_0241

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!

ACS_0240

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?

Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.20.12 PM
Go God’s Way Printable Bundle and Devotional

Screen Shot 2018-07-01 at 8.29.11 PM
“Life in Jesus” Stamp Set
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.26.29 PM
Dylusions Kit
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.29.57 PM
Faded Jeans Distress Oxide Ink
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.29.42 PM
Peeled Paint Distress Oxide Ink
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.30.22 PM
Blending Tool
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.27.22 PM
Tool Kit
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.29.16 PM
Olive You Alphabet Stickers
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.28.44 PM
456 Count – Word Cardstock Stickers
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.31.20 PM
Rubber Brayer
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.30.56 PM
Distress Sprayer Bottle
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.31.43 PM
Versafine Onyx Black Ink Pad
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.32.08 PM
Clear Acrylic Blocks
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.32.29 PM
Heat tool
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 12.33.23 PM
Water Brushes

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 2.51.16 PM
Permanent Adhesive
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 2.12.12 PM
Fine Point Slick Writer
Screen Shot 2018-07-03 at 1.35.19 PM
Clear Sticker Sheets
Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 2.57.21 PM
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.

ACS_0223

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!

ACS_0224

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.

ACS_0225

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
Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 3.54.46 PM
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