Saturday, August 12, 2017

Standing on God's Promises

It's been a very long while since I posted on my blog. It's not because I didn't want to, but because I have been very busy serving the Lord and taking care of my elderly mother. My being busy has not stopped me from seeking God, however. On the contrary, it's during times of busyness that I run to Him the more, to fortify me, guide me, and lead me to do His will!

Today, He's placed on my heart that we should trust in Him and His promises to us even when things don't go according to plan. He specifically wants us to understand the importance of tithing regardless of our situation.

God says in His word, "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). This is God's promise to you and me. So what does this mean? It means that despite whatever you may be going through, He is right there beside you. Whether you face financial trials: can't pay your rent or mortgage, your car is on the blink and you don't have the funds to have it repaired, you've lost your job and struggling to find employment that will allow you to take care of your bills, He is there, right there in the thick of it with you, all you have to do is trust Him to help you deal with your situation, and remember to be faithful to Him as He is to you. What do I mean? Let me explain (I'll apologize right now for the length of this post).

Back in 2004, when I lost my job of 11 1/2 years, I found myself without a cushion. For the first time in my adult life, I was not able to provide for myself or my girls. It did not help things that this all occurred just before the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). I was desperately searching for full-time employment but I also signed up with temp agencies to try to have a stream of income while searching. I panicked when December rolled around and I still had nothing. The Christmas holidays were fast approaching. my oldest daughter needed me to purchase her ticket to come home from college for the winter break. By the middle of December I was a wreck; wringing my hands in despair because I had no income and there was nothing on the horizon. But even going through this, God was with me; I lacked nothing, at least not the necessities of life: I had food on my table, I had gas in my car to enable me to go to interviews, I was able to pay some if not all of my bills. Oh, remember my daughter? Well, she was able to come home because of the generousness of a family member. When I look back at that season of my life I stand in amazement of how God took care of me, though I couldn't see it at the time (I was not yet a born again Christian). By the time the end of December rolled around, I had secured a temp job that would begin in the New Year, which I hoped would help until I could find something permanent. 

During that time in my life, I began to seek the Lord; I picked up my Bible and would read for hours; I would listen to televangelists all day long. I cried out to God for help and He drew me closer to Him. I had always tried to tithe at church, but I would put bills or other purchases I thought were more important before God. This all changed during this season. When I started the temp job, I had been following the teaching of Paula White on First Fruits offering (click the link to learn more about this). I knew nothing about it before then. As I drew deeper into God's Word, I felt led to offer up a First Fruits offering to God, so I offered my first paycheck from the temp job. Was I crazy to do this knowing it would be the first financial gain I would have? Maybe, but I wasn't thinking about the money or about the fact that I wouldn't be able to pay my bills. I wanted to give it to the Lord because He had provided for me to have that job and it was my way of saying that I trusted Him to take care of me for the rest of the year. You see, First Fruits is like a deposit; seed money. You trust you will receive an ROI (Return on Investment), sort of. Mind you, I don't look at it that way, this is just an example by way of explanation. The first covers the rest. What you sow in January covers the other eleven months. Get it? Let me further explain. Remember Cain and Abel? They both offered sacrifices to God; Cain's was rejected, while Abel's was not (At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them.  The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.  But he did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this, and he became very angry. Genesis 4:4-5

Giving God an offering means giving over and above your tithe; tithing is 10 percent of what you earn. It's not one or the other. So, because you give an offering in terms of supporting a ministry at church or elsewhere, it does not mean you have tithed! Abel gave God his best, his first, Cain gave some. Abel was extravagant in his offering to God, he didn't hesitate to give God all. Scripture states, " The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV.

Standing on God's promises means that I will be faithful to Him even during my time of need. I will not forsake my giving because money isn't flowing, in fact, I'll do the opposite because I trust Him to provide for me even when I'm facing difficulties! I stand on His promises because "He who calls you is faithful and He will do it" (2 Thessalonians 5:24).

Won't you trust Him to be your Jehovah Jireh (your provider), to take care of all your needs today? Won't you stand on His promises? I pray you do!

There's more to this story, but I'll share it with you on my next post. In the meantime, please feel free to browse here to see some of the cards and artwork I have created over the past 7 months, but have not had the time to share. 

Blessings to you!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Anniversary Invitations

I recently completed invitations for a friend's 40th Anniversary and vow renewal celebration. I was inspired to make this invite after I saw Becca Feeken's Gent's and Ladies shoe from Spellbinders. The card panel was made using a design I found in Cricut Design Space. It required me purchasing 11x17 paper from (based on the color combination from my friend's party and the size of the card, which was 6x5).

I cut the background panel and embossed it using my Cuttlebug and the Darice 5x7 Damask embossing folder. I cut the men's shoe from black cardstock and used scraps from the background panel (Paper Source's Stardream Quartz cardstock. This is one of my favorite stores to shop for quality invitation paper and coverstock) for the top layer of the shoe and using a needle inserted black ribbon as laces. For the woman's shoe, I used the Stardream Quartz paper as the bottom and top layer, cut the insole and bow from the red cardstock used for the card base and embellished it with a pearl. I finished the card by adding a strip of silver rhinestone bling. The inside of the card was preprinted and cut to fit inside the panel.

Clothespins have many uses!

Adding ribbon to the top panel of the men's shoe

Grateful I had a needle with an eye big enough to string the ribbon!

I love an assembly line!

Here's the final card

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Color Your Day Lesson 2

Though the live lessons are over for Altenew's Color Your Day classes, I have access to the videos and will continue learning new techniques when I have free time to create. In my last post I made a card that was inspired by color. Lesson #2 was about coloring using a color wheel. Of course I went to one of my favorite color combinations: yellow and orange.

I used Altenew's Peony Bouquet stamp set (the middle layer) and alternated inking with two colors (Altenews' Warm Sunshine, Buttercream and Caramel Toffee combinations). For the green leafs, the colors I used were Evergreen, Frayed Leaf and Forest Glades. I adhered the stamped background to a bright orange card base, die cut the words "just because" three times, once on ink-blended cardstock which I used as the top layer. I adhered the layers to the panel and embellished with gold and orange sequins.

Here is my final product: