June 10, 2017

I'm Thankful for Online Workshop Classes!

I am thankful for Stephanie Ackerman's online workshops as I don't drive and they are convenient for me to take! Here are some of the things I've made during the latest class I've taken. 

A card, a bookmark, and an artist trading card. The "thanks" and "love" sentiments are my own doodles and the chit-chat stickers came from Hobby Lobby. I refuse to cut or tear up book pages, so I used an old appliance paper as part of the first layer of the background and I also used decorative gift tissue paper. Whatever the printed decoration is stays on top, but the white tissue paper sorta "melts" into the glue which I really liked.  Another thing I like about Stephanie's online Documented Faith classes is being able to go back to another theme, other than the current month's and take a workshop. It is always good to review the lessons you've learned previously.  That's one of the things we PRACTICED in our Beginner's Sunday School class was reviewing last week's lessons. I was often amazed at how well my  3, 4 and 5 year old children remembered what we had studied the week before. 

I also art journaled this page. . . to insert into one of those page sleeves I saved for art journaling . .  . and I reread the DF scriptures I saved and doodled on and . . .

then PRACTICED hand-lettering the Documented Faith's theme word by doing it in the bullet-journal style . . .

And hand- stitched up Stephanie's heart that she designed! Ain't it cute? 💖

Just for your info: Stephanie said that the Etsy store will be closed from June 19 to August 1, 2017, so if you want to get in a workshop before she shuts it down for the summer holidays, you better hurry. I signed up today for the next one! 👍

June 06, 2017

I'm Thankful for my Faith Family!

Families who pray and play together, stay together.

Today, I realized, after emailing a friend, how thankful I am for childhood memories of the church I grew up in. We always celebrated Easter,Veteran's Day, 4th of July,  Thanksgiving, Christmas,  and tied each of those holidays into our faith because We Are One Nation Under God. Here's the Pledge of Allegiance that we said every morning before school began.

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag
Of the United States of America,
And to the Republic for Which It Stands
One Nation Under God, Indivisible,
With Liberty and Justice for all.

Did you know that there is also a Bible pledge: 

I Pledge Allegiance to the Bible, God's Holy Word,
I Will Make it a Lamp Unto My Feet
And a Light Unto My Path
And Will Hide Its Words in My Heart
That I May Not Sin Against God.

and a Christian pledge?:

I Pledge Allegiance to the Christian Flag
And to the Savior for Whose Kingdom It Stands.
One Brotherhood, Uniting All Mankind
In Service and in Love.  

We also celebrated school milestones like graduation with Promotion Sunday when children and young people were given a certificate because they were moving up to different Sunday School classes based on their age and grade in school. There were also awards given for best attendance and recognition given to Sunday School classes that had grown the most during the year. I always looked forward to those kind of things because they were my own personal milestones during the year. I guess what has brought them to mind is after last month's posting, I received the news that one of my first Sunday School teachers has graduated to heaven. Her name was Mrs. Ardella Hale.

I wrote this poem when a church friend asked me to help her to compile our church history for a seminary school project.

Our Church Family Quilt: A Warm Treasure From Heaven By Dolores J. Rush. 2008.

Our church family is like a patchwork quilt,
Begun some fifty years ago and designed with love.
It is a godly pattern, rich in memories,
Sewn by the Creator above.

Patiently weaving the fabric of our lives,
He stitches us together with golden threads that endure,
While challenges have added strength
To make our inheritance secure.

God pieced hearts together into blocks
Surrounded by His grace and care
And tied it through the batting of his comfort
Into a cozy coverlet we share.

He embroidered glimmering threads across the top
And sewed on elegant lace; binding us into one.
One family, composed of created people,
Made beautiful by his Son.

Yes, a patchwork of people, related by faith
Women, children, and men.
Warm treasure from heaven, this family quilt --
A legacy from Him.

May 06, 2017

Fear Will NOT Overcome Me! I have VICTORY in God - AMEN?

I received my first online death threat. No, not here, but on another social media site that I frequent. One of my spiritual gifts is "service" and I try to leave helpful or encouraging notes, however, this comment was made so long ago, that I had forgotten all about it. In the note, I mentioned I was a former Sunday School teacher and homeschooler and I guess that's what sparked this person's rage. Since I have moderating experience under my belt (a defunct website's homeschool forum), I knew immediately what to do and they were reported. I also sent a prayer request to my Documented Faith BFF's and my pastor to pray for my protection, because you hear about freaky things happening to people all the time.

I read missionary stories of God's protection and provision at my grandma's as I grew up. (She had such a HEART and passion for missions. She made wedding cakes for people in the community and donated that money to the missionaries her church supported.)  Some of the mission stories involved threats made by natives jealous of the missionaries' status and position in the community and  when confronted later and asked why they didn't attack, PRAISE GOD! the natives claimed they saw strong-armed men surrounding them during the missionaries prayer-time as they crept around their houses causing them to either run away or leave them alone because they were afraid of tangling with the men only they saw! At home, I remember listening to missionaries stateside on furlough, who shared stories that occurred during scary times, such as this lady friend who was a missionary in Kenya for 20 years (click here). I remember reading about Apostle Paul in the Bible who had to make his escape after a whole town threatened his life.  To be on the safe side,  I wanted some of that protection too.

"After many days had gone the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall." ~Acts 9:23-25.

Just before the praise and testimony time during our morning worship a couple of weeks ago, our leader stood up and began telling about something he had read during the week. He and his wife had been missionaries in Alaska for several years and he said that this verse had always helped him in difficult times.

"God, we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but OUR EYES ARE UPON YOU. All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, STOOD before the Lord. . . "Listen, this is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is NOT yours, but God's." ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 12-15.

Later on in the chapter, I read and discovered something!

"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Oh Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. GO OUT to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you. . . Listen to me! Have FAITH in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have FAITH in his prophets and you will be successful. After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness . . . Give THANKS to the Lord, for his love endures forever! As they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were DEFEATED!!!!" ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 17-22.

Did you see what I saw? The men of Judah praised God and gave thanks BEFORE the battle! Not after, but BEFORE it had occurred!

When our pastor stood up to preach, he said that God had prepared our testimony leader's verses in advance as his sermon meshed so well with that verse. 

[I've continued taking notes during the worship service, so I bring my Bible, a lapboard writing surface, a pen and my DF-book with blank paper. Here's how I divide my paper.

The top left is for the Worship Team and the Date. Below that are my sermon notes. At the top right, I pen-write in things I think of that I'm thankful for during the service. The next section is for the Bible text references such the one I wrote down above (2 Chronicles). And the last spot is my art spot where I write down words or phrases that come to mind or illustrations for cards or art journal pages or my DF divider pages such as I've shared a couple previously. You don't know how many times a pastor has used an illustration to make a point during his sermon and a card design popped into my head and I then had no paper to write it down on and I continued to think about that instead of listening to the rest of the sermon. This frees up my mind to continue listening to the sermon without the fear that I will forget that nifty idea! ]

My notes say: FEAR can become a PRISON. And when you have a David and Goliath experience facing you in life, TRUSTING in God combats that fear because TRUST (our DF theme word this month) is based on HOPE which is WAITING with EXPECTANCY on God. We should be STANDING on the Promises of God and his CROSS, not looking around at the things that causes us to be afraid, or listening to the evil one whispering in our ear, but LOOKING UP AT HIM, since we KNOW with CERTAINTY that God is FOR US, so who can be against us?

"When I am afraid, I will TRUST in you. In God, whose word I praise, IN GOD I TRUST; I WILL NOT be afraid, What can mortal man do to me? All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. . . Then my enemies will turn back when I CALL for help. By this I will know that God is for me. . . IN GOD I TRUST; I WILL NOT be afraid. What can man do to me?" ~ Psalm 56:3-6, 9, 11.

and "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation, if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our HOPE for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our HEARTS we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might NOT rely on ourselves, but ON GOD who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and HE WILL DELIVER US, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give THANKS on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." ~ 2 Corinthians 1: 3-11.

Stephanie will be traveling in the next few weeks. Join me in praying for traveling mercies, won't you?

If you are undergoing an anxious time, call together your faithful friends, ones you trust will pray for you (no lip service here) and then begin to THANK GOD for a battle WON. Keep hanging on, friend, just as I am doing. I KNOW who is in CONTROL and I'm going about my life in peace. PEACE to you too!

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April was my anniversary month for this particular blog. I want to thank those who have been faithful readers. You know who you are and please don't go away, just because I don't mention your country, however this time I'm going to CELEBRATE the countries with readers who have stopped in at least once during the year. Ten of them are: China, Finland,  India, Poland, Portugal,  South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.  

May God provide you with what you need today. In Jesus' name, Amen!