Sunday, January 29, 2012

Monday Musing-As You Are

Belinda Kersey 1/28/2012

The Song
"Come as You Are" by Pocket Full of Rocks

God’s Word
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." -Matthew 11:28
My Thoughts
On a day I was feeling unworthy of God’s love,  restless and out of sorts, I chose to change the radio dial from my regular station to one I hadn’t listened to in a long time.  The moment I settled on the frequency,  I heard these words “He's not mad at you, He's not disappointed”.  It seemed a “God thing” for me to hear this song.  This was a day I needed reminding that God sees me as I am-every single flaw and failing-and He still loves me.  He wants me to bring every imperfection to Him so He can turn the ashes of failure into beauty for Him. 

Jesus wants every soul to know “You can come as you are,  with all your broken pieces and all your shameful scars”. Unfortunately, many people fail to come to Him because they believe they have to clean up their act before they can deserve His love. The irony is, no matter what we do, we will never deserve the Love of a perfect God; but my friend,  “His grace is greater still, than all of (our) wrong choices, He is full of mercy and he is ever kind”.   

In the early 1990’s, my husband and I worked for a Teen Challenge center.  The young men and women we worked with all had different pasts, varied issues and came from all over the USA.  However they did have a  couple of things in common;  they all shared soul scars and they all desperately desired love and acceptance.

It took time and God’s love to break through the walls they had erected and to teach their hearts to hear their Savior. They desperately needed to hear Him calling  “Louder than the voice that whispers you’re unworthy , Hear the sound of love,  that tells a different story”.  Once the walls started to crumble and their hearts began to open, there was nothing more joyful and gratifying  than to see one of these lambs of God “bring it all to Jesus”.  When God shattered “their darkness and (pushed) through the lies”,  their countenance changed, their personality bloomed and they were freed from the pain they held in their heart.  

Our precious Savior has always looked for the broken hearted and has desired to lift up the downtrodden.  No better example of His unfailing love and mercy for humanity’s outcasts can be found than the moment in John 8 when He told the woman caught in the very act of adultery “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” He didn’t tell her to go get some clothes on and come back and fall before Him in contrition.  He did not tell her to leave His sight because she was unworthy to be in His presence.  He didn’t tell her to live a life of purity for 3 months and then ask for forgiveness.  No, the Perfect One, God Incarnate looked at her, in her sin and depravity, with eyes of forgiveness, compassion and love.  He told her to begin a new life from that moment on and to sin no more. 

Our sweet heavenly Father wants to do the same work in your heart.  He wants you to know,  no matter what you have done,  He is waiting for you with open arms.  Come as you are to The God of the Universe, He does not condemn you.

Your Response
God loves you and is longing to hear you say you are giving Him all your burdens and pain.  Turn it over to His capable hands today and choose to live a life of grace and forgiveness.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Colleen's Valentine Topiary

Isn't this gorgeous??  My crafty friend Colleen made this for a blog hop.  You can find the post with all the instructions HERE.  She used the Close To My Heart Cricut Art Philosophy cartridge to create the roses.  If you haven't purchased your Cart yet, you owe it to yourself to get it today!  You can order it HERE

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Inspired Stamps Love Card and a SALE!

We were asked to share a love theme project today for Inspired Stamps.  I haven't used Winter Ruth as much as I would like so I stamped her and then cut away the tree and snow bank.  I used the heart to "fill her hands".  Winter Ruth is unique in that she comes with several items you can place in her hands-LOVE IT! I colored her with Copics and gave her lots of sparkle with stickles.  

For the background, I used the doily stamp from the new Lovely Lace stamp set.  I used shades of yellow and purple and just overlapped them.  This doily is such a detailed stamp and really has the textural look of a real lace doily-AMAZING!

The sentiment is also from Winter Ruth and I actually cut the sentiment in half to make it a two line sentiment-that's the beauty of these clear polymer stamps-you can manipulate or cut to help fit your design. 

Be sure to visit the rest of the Design Team member's blogs.  Lots of love-ly projects today!

Now for the SALE info!  Inspired Stamps is offering 40% off one stamp set of your choice!  Head on over to their "STORE" to take advantage!

Other details on this card include a silver heart charm that I filled with stickles.  The paper, ribbon and ink are all from Close To My Heart

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Shield

Belinda Kersey 2007 (originally posted in Feb 2011)

God’s Word
Psalm 3:1-2 says “O Lord, how many are my foes!  How many rise up against me!  Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him”.”

My Thoughts
Notice David is not asking God “how many?”, he is telling him “GOD, do you see HOW MANY?!” I didn’t notice this Psalm until our choir sang a song based on this passage.  The first time I heard these words, set to music, I was deeply touched and could feel each word pierce my soul.
The song interprets it this way:  “Many are they increased, that trouble me, many are they that rise up against me.  Many there be which say of my soul, “there is no help for him in God”.”
On my very worst days I have that very litany playing in my mind.  MANY are against me, MANY are upsetting my life, MANY say there’s no help, no cure for me. But thank God the Psalm, the song and my litany do not stop there.  The all important six letter phrase follows: BUT GOD.  The song says “BUT THOU OH LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the lifter of my head.”   

All of the ten or so versions of the scripture, I looked up, interpret the phrase this way…”But you are a shield AROUND me.”  Now, we have all learned from childhood that a shield is something you hold in front of you.  When the word “shield” is spoken, I automatically picture a Roman soldier’s shield or a royal Knight’s jousting shield.  But read the word I capitalized one more time.  It says “AROUND”.  Now, I can’t picture the Lord jumping around me holding one little shield.  If He did, then important areas would be left vulnerable.  No, it says AROUND me. 

It also says “you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”  When you see someone using a shield in a battle scene, they really aren’t holding their head up too high above that shield because then their head would be vulnerable.  But the scripture says He lifts up my head.
Now that I have seen the movie “The Incredibles”, I can replace the shield picture in my mind.  The daughter in the movie protects her family from the enemy with a clear, impenetrable bubble that encircles them.  They are protected on ALL sides by this shield.  That, my friend, is how I now see God’s shield.  He SURROUNDS me, is AROUND me, and has me ENCIRCLED in his protection.  Because I am invincible with his shield, I can lift my head high to face the accuser and the tormentor.  
I can “cry to the Lord with my voice” and He will hear me and answer me from “his holy hill”.  I can lie down to sleep and awake again because the “Lord sustains me”.  I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side”  because the Lord is a shield AROUND me.

Your Response
Picture an impenetrable, clear bubble encircling you, your family and your home.  Thank God for His protection.  Praise Him for being mightier than your enemies.  Lift your head to heaven and proclaim He is your shield and defender against every foe that comes your way. 

The Song
“Thou, Oh Lord”  words and music by Lisa Ireland

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inspired Stamps Nature Projects

Welcome to another inspirational Thursday with Inspired Stamps!  This week's assignment is Nature and Scriptures.  I decided to try out the Moleskin notebooks that Antoinette introduced us to a few weeks back.  She said Target carries them but I found mine at Barnes and Noble.  I am going to try to get several of these stockpiled and use for quick gifts for some special ladies:)

The 1st one is made with the new 1" Flowers and the  Whimsical Trees Stamps Set, aren't these the sweetest little trees?  The scattered leaf stems are part of the new  1" Flowers stamp set and the tiny asterisk shapes are from the tree set.  The beautiful scripture is part of my well used Strength stamp set.  The Moleskin notebooks take stamping beautifully but tend to "wash out" Copic markers.  The greens seemed to color fine but the asst blues,  purples and lavendars really became muted as you can see below.

The 2nd notebook features a flurry of flowers from the brand new 1" Flowers Set.  I only used a small portion of what you will find on this versatile set.  The scripture is from another favorite of mine- Inspired Stampers Favorite 2 Collection.

My last example is my favorite and will probably not be gifted because I'm gonna keep it!  On this one I used my loved Eye on the Sparrow stamps.   I also added the tiny musical notes from the cute Choir Boy/Angel set.  The music staff is from Sing for Joy.   Just for a little fun, I added some of my music tissue tape to finish the book.

I hope you enjoyed my trio of fun today.  Be sure to take a look at the other beautiful projects on my fellow Design Team's blogs.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Inspired by Color Layout

Do you remember the color inspiration I put up yesterday?  This is the layout I put together using  those fun colors.  I ended up using red as well for the apples.  I really like how it came together.  I originally planned to use only the blue and orange but the addition of the green and gold sparked my idea for the apple tree.  That change really tied everything together and gave the layout some extra pizazz.

What inspires you?  Color, shapes, a little of both or something else entirely?

Supplies:  Close To My Heart Elemental papers, CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut cart,  Graphically Speaking cart, Copics and Stickles

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Color Inspiration

I have really been obsessed with color lately.  It all started when hubby and I decided to redo our kitchen in bold red, gray, black and white from our present calming colors of sky blue, white and pops of sage.  I found these gorgeous colors today at Homemade Simple.  Maybe it's the cold day outside (40's today, 70's yesterday!) but I just really love the combo of cool blues and greens with the pop of heat from the orange and gold!  Kinda like enjoying a warm bowl of soup while watching the snow fall!  I believe I will have to create a card or layout tonight using these colors just as soon as I partake in the bowl of beef-veggie soup simmering on my stove:)  Be blessed and stay warm!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

He is With You

I must apologize for not making the time to write a devotional for you this week. However, this is the song I planned to use and upon listening to it tonight, I believe it is a devotional all by itself. Please listen to Mandisa sing this encouraging and uplifting song that lifts my spirits every time I listen to it. Be blessed!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sneaky Peaky with Inspired Stamps

I was soooo excited about this new Inspired Stamps release that I actually had them ready to post last week!  Good thing I rechecked my calendar in time to make something for last week's post! There are some fun new designs you are going to love!  The closeup above is of a scripture from the new Lovely Lace set.  This set is just so perfect for your Valentine projects and will be released for purchase on Friday! 

I found these frames at Ikea before Christmas for 99 CENTS!  I grabbed up several without a clue as to what
I would do with them and I love what I came up with for the 1st one.  These are the colors that we plan to redo our kitchen in-Black, White and pops of red.  This is just a tiny sample of what the Lovely Lace set consists of.  You can see more on the next project below.

 This is a simple exploding box   If you need instructions to make one, just do an on-line search for explosion box.  There are a ton of tutorials.  For the top of the box I again used the Lovely Lace stamp set.  Isn't that doily stamp gorgeous?!

To see the a larger photo just click on the image.  The scripture is also from Lovely Lace-a wonderful scripture to focus on for Valentines!  I tell you, you NEED this set of stamps right away and can start ordering at noon PST on Friday.    The 2 circle flowers are from another fab new set called 1" flowers.  There's a whole bouquet of little blossoms as well as vases and pots to "hold" them in this new set from Inspired Stamps. 

You can see 2 more of these petite blooms on the sides of my box.

By the way, the papers I used on this box are called "Sweetheart" from CTMH and a pack of 22 coordinating papers are on clearance for $3!!! on my shopping website HERE.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Immeasureably More!

by Belinda Kersey 1/8/12
God’s Word
Ephesians 3:20
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… (NIV)

Ephesians 3:20 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (The Message)

The Song
God is Able by Hillsong

My Thoughts
  Today was a typical Sunday at church.  You know the routine-sing some songs, say a prayer, listen to the sermon, put your check in the offering.  But today, in the midst of the weekly ritual, God’s presence was felt through a song I’d not heard before.  Almost as soon as the song was begun, a holy reverence enveloped the congregation.  

I know one family in the congregation had just lost a beloved grandmother, mother and wife, others are struggling with cancer, some have major decisions to make but this song spoke peace to all those situations.  “God is able He will never fail He is Almighty God greater than all we seek greater than all we ask”.
Yes, my friend, God manifested himself through these powerful words and spoke “peace, be still” to each of our souls.  He reminded us He was “lifted up (and ) He defeated the grave.  (He was) raised to life (and He’s) our God (and He) is able.”
There was no doubt in the minds of those who were open to His presence that “God is with us God is on our side. He will make a way far above all we know, far above all we hope.  You can be certain of this truth, dear one, because “He has done great things”!
I am so thankful for the times God’s presence takes us by surprise.  I know he understands why those who have attended thousands of Sunday services sometimes become guilty of going on “auto-pilot” during church.  I am also thankful He knows how to break in to our routine and shake us out of our slumber.
He wants us to never forget “In His Name we overcome for the Lord our God is able”.  What is He able to do?  He is able to step into your world and your situation and do IMMEASUREABLY MORE than you could even think about asking him to do!  I don’t know about you but I have had some wild dreams and can imagine a few huge requests.  However,  my imagination and dreams are mere specks compared to what God can grant or fulfill!  Remember, He imagined this amazing world into existence.  He let out a breath and Adam lived.
Yes, today I am thankful he entered our souls and confirmed that “God is with us, He will go before us,  He will never leave us.  God is for us,  He has open arms,  He will never fail us for the Lord our God is able”!
Your Response
Voice your needs to your Heavenly Father and thank Him for doing FAR more than you can ever imagine.   

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Inspired Stamps Scripture Tag Book

This week the design team with Inspired Stamps was given carte blanche for our project.  I have soooo many scraps and bits and pieces in my craft room that I knew I wanted to start there.  I am trying to curtail my craft spending so I can start a much needed remodel in my kitchen and dining!  After I looked through my stash and gathered some interesting items,  I created this tag book for a friend who will be embarking on a new journey in her life. 

I filled it with vintage images from my pile of stuff and wonderful, encouraging scriptures from Inspired Stamps. The cover above uses Deuteronomy 31:8 one of the single scripture stamps for $3.99.

The 2 scripture stamps used here are both from the great Birthday stamp set.  I used manila tags for all the pages and covered most of them in scraps of paper.  The tag page on the right though is just colored by randomly pressing 3 different colored ink pads directly to the tag.
These 2 sweet pages feature scriptures from Stamper's Favorites #1   .

The page on the left does not have a scripture but rather song lyrics that I thought fit the cat with a sparrow on his hat perfectly!  The stamp set is one of my faves-Eye on the Sparrow.  On the right, is Phillipians 4:13

Ready for one more set of pages?  Here I used Isaiah 30:15 with the butterflies and on the cute moon page is Inspired Stampers' Favorites #2.

 Finally!  We are at the back cover and I finished it off with a message from me from, once again, Inspired Stampers' Favorites #2.

I hope you enjoyed my fun little book.  Be sure to check the rest of the team's blogs for their great designs.  Stop in next week for a great sneak peek at fabulous new Inspired Stamps sets!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

He Has Overcome

Belinda Kersey on January 1, 2012

His Word
Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."
The Song
Overcome by Desperation Band

My Thoughts
My anthem for 2012 is "I will overcome by the blood of the Lamb And the word of my testimony!" As I've thought over the triumphs and troubles of the last year, my mind is drawn to my precious group of scrapbooking friends that I have the privilege of leading at church.  We call ourselves the Scrap Divas and  there is a core group of around 6 of us that have been meeting together for over 3 years.  We have had others join us over the years and usually can count on 10 ladies to meet together and chat, scrap, eat, pray and have fun together on a monthly basis. I have grown to love each of them and know I can count on their prayers and support. 

This past year has been one with a vast breadth of emotions for our little group. There have been new births in many forms. Two first time grandmas were "born" in our circle. We have even had a grandma become a great-grandma!  A first time mom welcomed the arrival of a beautiful daughter and then endured a difficult time of seeing her with health issues and even surgery on her skull.  However, she was able to praise God when that precious baby recovered and healed with flying colors.  Today, she is a precocious, healthy, beautiful 1 year old! We have seen the joy of our "mother" church birth a new church plant.  One of our lady's is the new Pastor's wife and two of us have joined in the adventure of helping this new ministry flourish. 

We've overcome many health related issues in our families.  There have been at least 4 broken arms among 3 of our sons (you'll recall my son had 2 of those!).  Some of our Divas have had emergency room visits, hospital stays and health scares.  I can recall at least 2 young adult children involved in serious vehicle accidents but, praise the Lord, they emerged whole.  We have watched some ladies employ a healthy new lifestyle and triumphantly shrink before our eyes. 

Our group has its share of  children in the military and all that entails.  We've prayed over them and sent our handmade cards as encouragement to them.  One son's dream of serving the military was dashed because of a fluke of a medical mystery.  He returned home discouraged but not destroyed.  He is determined to find the path God intends for him.

We have celebrated the accomplishment of  high school graduations. We were in awe as one of our Divas graduated from college while raising 9 children and working a part time job!  Now she begins her pursuit of a Masters in counseling.  I would think raising 9 well adjusted, happy and healthy kids would already qualify her! One of her daughters has been a part of our Divas from the beginning and she became a teen this year!  Its a testimony to this young girl's spirit that she sticks with us even though we all share our motherly wisdom emphatically and often!

My sweet friends celebrated with me as I had my cards and crafts published for the first time.  They were so sweet and happy for me and I know without their love and encouragement I would have never felt confident in submitting my work.  They also prayed diligently with me through health issues of mine and my family's. 

There have been heart wrenching goodbyes this past year.  The greatest sorrow we shared as a group was losing  our dear, sweet friend Maria when she went to dance before the throne of God after a lifetime of pain and struggle. We watched her live out the entire scripture at the top of this page, including the last part.  Although we all miss her greatly, we know she is living the glorious, eternal life she was created for.  You can read my tribute to her amazing life HERE.

The one constant that has been with us throughout all of these moments of joy, pain, accomplishment, despair and just plain living our lives is that we maintain a solid faith in our Lord.  We encourage each other with the knowledge that He is "Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love"  and He is our "Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, (He) overcame (and He is) Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is (His) name."    My friends, every victory we celebrate belongs to Him and every trial we endure has been overcome by Him!  Stand firmly on this truth in 2012!

Your Response
Watch this video and determine in your heart that this is the year you will overcome!