Stand Tall and Stand Out

“Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

(Romans 12:2)

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Paul tells the church in Rome to not conform to the world.  Rome was the center of the Roman Empire, and at that time, a very pagan and secular place.  What does it mean to “conform”?  The definition of conform that applies here is to “be similar in form or type; to agree with.”  Paul emphasized that the Christians in Rome should NOT be similar in type or form with the pagan, secular world.  Rather, they should stand out and be dissimilar from the crowd and the rest of the world.

This timely message applies to us today too.  God was speaking to us through Paul’s letter.  Today, our culture is completely void of godliness and righteousness.  Movies and shows, music, fashion, social media, etc.  It all screams self-preservation and self-glorification, which is the opposite of God’s self-sacrificing love.  Of course, there are some glimpses of goodness in this world, and we should cling to those things (Phil. 4:8).

God calls us to stand out and show others His beautiful character in this ugly world.   We have to make choices that reflect what God would want for us, even when we feel like we are going against the crowd.  We have to stand tall and stand out, even if this world doesn’t agree with our choices.  Even when we feel like we are all alone.  But we aren’t alone–He is standing there with us, to help us stand tall and stand out.  Like a beautiful flamingo standing tall.

I used the new Be a Flamingo stamp set from Sweet ‘N Sassy Stamps, as well the Bitty Minnie Alpha set and the Beach Blessings Printable.  You can see how I masked the leaves and flowers to create the tropical background.  I tried out the Jane Davenport brights watercolor set to paint the images and loved the vibrancy.

How is God calling you to stand out?  How has He helped you stand tall, even when you had to stand alone?

GOD WINS!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“And that spells trouble, with a capital T!”  This line comes from The Music Man, one of my favorite musicals.  The trouble it was speaking of was actually a pool hall opening in town.  Oh, if only that were all the trouble we had to worry about.  These days, there’s school shootings, suicides, road rage incidents, politics, international insecurity, financial worries, marital struggles, parental difficulties, etc., etc., etc.  Jesus wasn’t kidding when He told the disciples that “…in this world you will have trouble.”  There’s trouble everywhere!

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I know I have troubles.  In my home.  At work. With my kids. With my marriage. With my health.  Don’t get me wrong–I am so very blessed. But there are certainly trials and tribulations in all areas of my life.  Satan knows just where to attack us.  But Jesus promises here in this passage that He has overcome these troubles, and He guides and helps me to overcome them too.  Actually, it’s simply a matter of letting Him doing the overcoming and me just trusting Him and allowing Him to work everything out.  Simple, but not necessarily a simple task to do.

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But, oh, if only those were all the troubles we had to worry about.  It’s not the troubles in the world that are most troublesome, but the trouble the world is in.  Did you get that?  Let me say it again.  The troubles IN the world don’t compare to the trouble the world is in.  The world is in trouble because of the sin problem, because Adam and Eve sinned, which allowed Satan to gain control.  We and all humanity were doomed to die for all eternity because God cannot be in the presence of sin.  But take heart!  Jesus, with His perfect life lived, and perfect death offered on the Cross, took back control of this world.  He has overcome!  Now, we are offered eternal life with God through faith.

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For this faith art journaling page, I journaled in my 100 Days of Bible Promises Devotional by Dayspring.  I used the June Faith Art Box by Creative Retreat Kits, and I used some Shimmerz products:  Cotton Candy Spritz and Don’t Rain on My Parade Vibez.  You can see the entire process video below or on my YouTube Channel.

How has God helped you to overcome troubles, both little and big problems, in your life?

 

 

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Creative Retreat Kits June Faith Art Box
100 Days of Bible Promises Devotional
100 Days of Bible Promises Devotional

Flourish Like Palms | Bible Journaling

fullsizeoutput_46a12  The righteous flourish like the palm tree

and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13  They are planted in the house of the LORD;

they flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 92:12-13

I’ve always loved  this Bible verse in Psalm 92 where it says that the righteous will flourish like palms and cedars because it reminds me of my children and my role as a parent.  Every Christian parent wants their children to be righteous and to flourish in the Lord. To “flourish” means to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.  We as parents need to provide the environment for them to flourish into a righteous follower of Christ. But why does the psalmist use the imagery of a palm and a cedar tree to represent righteousness?fullsizeoutput_46aI moved to Florida almost eight years ago.  I can say in all honesty that I’ve never seen storms like I’ve seen here in Florida.  This past summer we endured Hurricane Irma.  I’ve come to understand one of the significant reasons why the palm is used in this psalm.  During these incredible storms, with torrential winds and rain, a palm tree will blow and fold and bend, but it will rarely break.  God designed the palm tree in such a way, with its spread-out roots, foldable fronds, and wiry trunk, to survive the storms of life.  And not only do these beautiful palm trees just survive, but they thrive in this climate!  They grow tall and stately, and historically they represent victory and celebration.  Palm trees flourish in adversity!

Now, on to cedar trees.  These aren’t just any cedar trees, though.  The Lebanon Cedar is a magnificent and massive tree.  Its wood is strong and has a pleasant odor, and is resistant to rot and insects.  Many Biblical woodworkers desired this wood, including Solomon for his Temple.

If you’ve met my three teenage boys, you might understand why I’ve always said that they were like Cedars of Lebanon.  They are BIG boys!  They eat me out of house and home, especially my youngest.  They are massive and strong like cedar trees.  Plus, we used to live in Lebanon, Pennsylvania (not the same as the Mediterranean Lebanon), and two of our three boys were born there.  So they are strong and big like the cedar trees of Lebanon (PA).

Perhaps this passage is saying that the righteous will flourish physically, like my boys have grown strong and healthy; but it is more likely to be saying that they will flourish spiritually.  Since it uses the palm and cedar analogies, we can understand more specifically how they will flourish.  They will be resilient in adversity, they will have a strong faith, they will be resistant to temptation, and they will be foundational in building God’s kingdom.  In order to truly flourish like this, I need to provide the environment for my children to grow, to plant them in God’s court.  That is my responsibility as their parent!fullsizeoutput_46aFor this page, I journaled in my Little Psalm Book, and I used several Sweet ‘N Sassy Stamps sets:  Brotherly Love, Be a Flamingo, and Bitty Minnie Alpha.  I stamped them with black ink and colored the images with Intense Blocks.  The Brotherly Love set is so much fun because you can individualize the finished look.  Two of my boys saw this and couldn’t believe how much it looked like them! (The other was indifferent.) I finished it off with some washi tape, a tab, a date stamp, and journaling.  (Affiliate links within the hyperlinks will take you to the products I used.  This week, through June 22, 20% off site-wide Sweet ‘N Sassy Stamps with code THANKS.)

What are some ways that you are helping your children flourish in a righteous environment?