Saturday, September 19, 2015

Finding Joy

As I read today's entry in one of my devotionals, God Calling: by Two Listeners, I was led to write the following in my journal: "Finding joy in doing my will means listening obediently for your call to step out on faith. It means reaching out to those in need even if you don't know how you're called to help them; it means speaking truth even if that truth hurts; it means hugging and loving the unlovable. Finding joy in your life can only happen when you find joy in me".

God does not call us to find joy in our own self-serving efforts, but in reaching out to others and building a relationship based on the love that he is calling us to offer the world (even those who hurt and persecute us). Remember John 3:16? Yes, that is the kind of love the God of love is calling us to give: sacrificial, limitless, brimming over -- love for the unlovable, the marginalized, the broken, the sick... the list goes on.

How do we carry out His will to love as he loved? By finding joy in doing all he has called us to do for all, even those we think are not worthy of love. How can this be achieved? When we spend time in His presence loving and listening; allowing him to cleanse us from the inside out, showing us who we are in him, and healing from our past sins, from the chains that have kept us bound and chained to our past and the lie the enemy wants us to keep believing. Once we own up and accept our past for what it is -- the past -- and we discover who and whose we are, God will use us and guide us into obedience, and once we obey, we will be willing (and able) to act. Abiding in God's presence will lead us on a path to finding joy in our lives.

Embossed With Sympathy message on metallic cardstock

Monday, September 7, 2015

We Must Go to War!

Today I went to see War Room with some of the women in a faith formation group I facilitate at my church. All summer we have been watching movies and discussing them afterwards. Most of the movies have been faith-based true stories, and some of them have been Hollywood blockbusters with story lines worthy of dissecting from a faith point of view.

War Room is a faith-based movie with a bang -- one that hits home with content so powerful it is an example to what we, as Christians ought to be doing in terms of fighting the spiritual battle for our lives, our families, and this world.

Ephesians 6:12 states, "Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places." (ERV). War Room is a reminder of the fight we are supposed to be fighting. We ought to be strategizing and setting up our plan of attack on the spiritual forces that are reared up against us. We have to declare war on the enemy and arm ourselves with the tools for our warfare. What tools? The tools God has given us to fight this battle - God's armor.  Ephesians 6:13 tells us, "That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil, you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing." (ERV). 

God did not leave us defenseless, he has given us weapons with which to fight this war. These weapons are found in his Word, The Bible. Ephesians 6 lists those tools: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the most important tool of them all, the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17).

We, as Christians, are reminded that we are not alone in this fight -- God is with us every step of the way. So we ought to take up our weapons and allow our General, God, to direct our steps in this battle. Strategize and plan your line of attack! That means you should call out your enemy and set the battle lines! Let him know you are ready to go to war, let him see you equipped and wearing your armor, and remind him that the battle was won by Jesus, who defeated him when he rose from the dead!

As I always do, I love to add some visuals to my posts. I don't always have time to sit down and blog, nor do I often have time to post some of the cards I create, but when I do blog, I love to post photos for you to view. So, here are just a few cards I made in the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Mixed-Media Background w/ die-cut cover and  words

Mixed-Media background w/ die cut cover

Wedding Card

Embossed and Distress inked tree

Wedding Card