Lettering the Psalms Day 1

posted in: Bible | 0

Spring is a great time to try something new.  Just like January 1, right?  The days get longer, the weather gets warmer, the flowers are blooming!

Lettering is definitely not new to me, but I do like to do different things with it to keep me fresh and also practice.  When my custom order list is long, I warm up with lettering challenges that I find by different letterers on Instagram.

This March I’ll be sharing with you those letterings and my devotional thoughts.  I’m using James Montgomery Boice’s incredible commentary on Psalms to walk me through these each day.  And I’ll also be talking about my favorite lettering resources, too.

By the end of the challenge, I hope to take all of the ombre brushlettered cards and make them into a Psalms memory ring!

Day 1 (I was going to post this last night but my mister needed the computer, and I wanted to go to bed).  Psalm 3:3

I’ve loved this Psalm for about 15 years since I sung it as part of a choir at a church in NC.  This is one of my favorites.  I love this version by Brooklyn Tab.  My mister will be singing it this spring as part of a choir tour – encouraging pastors and church members.

The Psalm is written by David.  To say the least David is having a rough go of it.  His life is in danger – by his son.  When I’m anxious about anything I can tell you I don’t sleep very well.  It is a fitful night of tossing and turning.  And yet David says he woke up because the Lord was with him.  That says he was very calm.

When we are being pressed in, have people that are after us, or accusing us, or being mean to us (yes, bullying happens as adults too), or we just are having a rough time, we can look at this verse and know the same God who rescued David is the same God who shepherds and rescues us.

He is a shield.

He lifts your head.

He is a near God who protects you.

“When a believer gazes too long at his enemies, the force arrayed against him seems to grow in size until it appears to be overwhelming.  But when he turns his thoughts to God, God is seen in his true, great stature, and the enemies shrink to unimaginable proportions.” (JB Psalm 3)

Tools: Artistic Isle Watercolor, watercolor paper 140lb, large round brush (I get mine at Target), Crossway Psalter

For any custom lettering, comment here or head over to my instagram page.

Day 2: Psalm 6

Day 3: Psalm 9

Fear and Faith : a book for every woman

posted in: Books | 3

Fear and Faith

There haven’t been many books I’ve come across, geared toward women, that I think apply to all women.  May be a few by Elyse Fitpatrick, but that’s about it.  Most books for women are geared toward marriage, singleness, motherhood, etc.  This new book from Moody Publishers by Trillia Newbell (who works for the ERLC) is one book that I would highly recommend to every single woman to read.

Why?  Because we all fear.  We may not like to admit we fear – but we all do.  I will post my official review later, but suffice it to say that Trillia states her case and successfully writes about it – and points us to the gospel in all things with this book.  I want to interact personally with this book here.

I don’t think I would ever consider myself a fearful person – until I got married.  I think the closeness to other people brings that out – because there is more a fear of loss.  Before I got married I lived by myself in my own apt, I moved gladly around to different countries, I was actually quite independent – though I did have close relationships.  Now, I hate it when my mister is gone and its just me in the house with my two littles.  I have trouble falling asleep and I have to quote verses to myself in order to calm my heart.

My biggest struggle is fear of man.  I think I’ve known this tendency since I was little – but not until I came more into a relationship with Christ did I fully understand my need for salvation in this area.  A pastor recommended an Ed Welch book for me to read about 10 years ago.  So convicting – but so filled with hope that God has a special plan for our lives so we don’t have to be chained to sin in this area.

That’s what Trillia does in every area!  She lists out many fears that women struggle with ranging from tragedy, the future, to physical appearance and sexual intimacy.  In every single chapter – I was convicted by some of her thoughts (totally based in Scripture backed up by personal experience – not the other way around) – and I was placed gently in the hands of the Almighty who doesn’t want me to fear but wants me to trust completely in Him.

I see this in my marriage a lot.  This idea of us being consumed with the opinions of others (pg 24).  I always want to know what my mister thinks of my outfit, the food I cooked, etc.  I want him to realize that I cleaned this or that and am always looking for his approval.

Right now my mister and I are not in a place of surety – meaning I don’t think we are going to be in this place in life for a long time so we feel kinda in limbo.  So, when I don’t have a vision for the future and don’t know how long it will be till we see that vision – its scary.  This book has taught me that I don’t trust God enough in this area.  I like to be in control.

I read the chapter on appearance (am I pretty enough) the wknd I finally lost all the baby weight.  I was so excited.  I mean my second son just turned 20 months old.  Its been a long time coming.  Newbell reminded me that while I should take care of my body because God desires me to – I shouldn’t focus on my looks to an extreme amount nor should I find my identity in the numbers on the scale.

Giveaway: Moody has graciously said they would give a copy of this book to a reader.  Here is how you enter: what one verse to do you go to when you are fearful?  You can answer in the blog comments or on a social media account of your choice.  Just make sure I know about it.  I will choose a winner on Sunday night.

Trillia – thank you.  This book was very helpful and was restorative to my soul.

On How to Suffer Well

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On Suffering Well

(Disclaimer: I will say at the forefront that I do NOT suffer well.  I don’t like to suffer; and I really don’t know who does.  And I have also learned much from writing this post.  So, I hope this post is a blessing to you as well.  Thank you for your sweet comments on the last several “faith and life” blogs I’ve written.  You have been sweet community to me.”)

Probably in the world’s eyes I’ve not suffered a lot in my life.  But, I’ve learned that suffering is indeed felt and experienced differently by different people.  I’ve people in my life who:

– have children who have suffered long with different forms of cancers or disabilities

– have wombs that are barren and can’t have biological children

– have lost parents or grandparents

– have adult children who aren’t living for the sake of the gospel

– have family members lost in a natural disaster

– have lost jobs or friends

– aren’t sleeping because of babies in the home who are struggling to get on a schedule

– have absent spouses who don’t pursue Christ and their marriage

I wrote this post while waiting for a women’s event to start.  When I got home from the women’s event my husband was holding our infant and said something was wrong.  He never goes to sleep on him and his breathing was very labored.  He had inhaled a small teething tablet into his windpipe and now it is stuck beyond the coughing it up point.  We all had a restless night pondering what to do – and decided this morning to take him into a pediatrician.  She immediately requested x-rays.  Now we are waiting for the results and a plan of action.  That is a form of suffering.  Just as an example.

Below are 6 things that I’ve learned as I’ve pondered suffering for the last several months:

1.  Suffering is inevitable.  (John 15:20, 1 Peter 4:12)  No matter what form your suffering takes – suffering will come to you (whether you are a Christian or not).  For Christians, the Bible says that since Jesus suffered, we will suffer too.  We should expect it.  We should not be surprised when it happens – whatever “it” is.  Suffering isn’t necessarily because of our sin.  Jesus was perfect, but knew suffering.  We may suffer for righteousness or we may suffer because of our sin.  Either way, suffering will be in our lives.  That is why we pray all the more fervently “Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 21:1, 4)

2.  Suffering should lead us to humility.  The reason I don’t suffer well is because I have come to the realization (through the help of the Spirit) that I don’t think I should suffer.  My point of reference is other sinners around me.  I don’t think I should suffer because I’ve not sinned as much as other people.  But, thankfully the Spirit is showing me that I am indeed a sinner, and my suffering is sometimes because I sin and sometimes it is just because that is the will of God for my life.

3.  Suffering has two ends: God’s glory and my good. God gets much glory in our lives when we suffer well.  Tim Keller, NYC pastor and author, writes in his book on suffering: Suffering is unbearable if you aren’t certain that God is for you and with you.” (58)  When we suffer well – God gets glory in this sin-filled world.  And what do I mean that it is for my good?  I’m learning as I study the Bible not to take verses out of context (something I learned mostly while in seminary and still practicing the discipline today).  Philippians 1.6 says God will complete the work he began in you at the day of Christ Jesus.  Mainly…Paul is meaning that since God the Father sent Jesus to purchase your salvation on the cross…that he will sanctify you and you will be perfect when Christ returns.  We won’t look perfect here because we will still dwell in this sinful world – but once Christ comes we will be like him!  Praise the Lord.  I look forward to the day when my sin will no longer hurt me and will no longer hurt those I love.

4.  God wants us to suffer well with joy.  Note: I didn’t say with a smile on our faces.  Joy is something that is of the Spirit and is only found in Christ.  Joy runs deep.  Joy is not based on our circumstances.  Joy is something that can seldom be explained.  I think of a mom of two adopted littles who is not able to have biological children of her own.  Her hope and joy in Christ hasn’t decreased over the 7 years I’ve known her.  She focuses and perseveres in Christ and His Word.  She is hopeful and thankful.  I think of a set of parents whose young son has struggled with cancer for over a year – and in that time the father has lost his dad and he himself is suffering with intense back pain.  His hope stays on Christ.  His joy doesn’t come in the fact that his son has cancer – but that his Christ is bigger than cancer.

5.  Suffering is meant to bring us to Christ.  When we suffer, we tend to look inward, find hope and strength or comfort in things that we can supply for ourselves.  That is not the point of suffering.  Christ, when he suffered, went to the Word and went to his Father.  When we suffer – do we run to Christ or do we turn to other things that we think will bring us comfort.  For me, the thing I turn most to is food (or shopping).  Christ is kind to me when he gently reminds me that food will not make me feel better when I suffer, but ultimately it will leave me shameful and more deep in despair. John Piper says this of my favorite male author Jerry Bridges, “he writes with depth about suffering because he has gone deep with Christ in suffering.”  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

6.  We should serve others even in the midst of our suffering.  I’ve known so many families over the course of my life who live this out well.  I know families who constantly have their door open and their home filled with people, even when going through immense struggles.  I know women who love on others in their lives even when they are hurting.  Paul, who was in prison during the writing of some of his letters, served the church (and not himself) by writing these letters even when his hands were in shackles.  2 Corinthians 1:4)

Faith Quote of the Week

posted in: Quotes | 0

Worry and Belief

This life throws so much at us.  I live in metro ATL and every day I could worry about my Mister as he drives to and from work.  I could worry about how my sons are going to turn out and if they will love Jesus one day.  I could worry about our finances because my Mister is in a commission job.  I could worry about friendships and blog readership and if I will ever fit in the size 8 skirt that I love?

But, all of that wouldn’t be believing God.

At the beginning of this year I really wanted to be daily reminded of the fact that God wants me to BELIEVE HIM.  Not only believe IN Him but, to also wholeheartedly believe Him.  This year has definitely been trying – and God is allowing me steady contact with Him to help me with my unbelief – making it believing!


Believing God for Future Faith Because of Former Faith

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Do you believe God? Not – do you believe in God, but do you believe God?
So many people (but not enough) believe in God, especially here in the Bible Belt. But, how many of us live our lives every day as if we really do believe God.
We read of this belief in the Christmas narration in Luke’s gospel.
Zechariah, the husband of Elizabeth who was barren but now was going to the mom of John the Baptist, declared the God’s redemption plan had happened. That’s right…past tense…and he hadn’t even met Jesus yet. This was 33 plus years before the cross. How was this man so confident in the redemption work of God?
Because God had ALREADY DONE great things for him. God had given him a son. Not just any son either. Sons were big deals in the time of the Bible.
So, what do we as post-cross Christians need for us to believe God? I’m not talking about saving faith – which actually only comes as a gift from God (Eph 2), but living, active, everyday faith.
1. We need to know the Bible. For us to know the God of the Bible, and to take Him at His Word, we need to know His Word. How can you claim what God has said He will do for you if you don’t know what He said? He has already told us what He will do for us.
2. We need to reject doubt. Doubt is sin. We doubt because we don’t trust. We don’t trust because we allow the cares of this world to crowd out the truths that God has already given us.
Look at all that God has already done for you. Hasn’t He come through? Hasn’t He been good to you? Do you really think He is going to stop now? You can look at the ways God has worked in your life in the past and believe Him for what He will surely do in the future. Your future.
What do you want God to do for you, in you, through you? Has God already said He will do it? If so, then you can count on Him to do exactly what He has said.
Take Him at His Word.  Hebrews 11.6 lived out!

Tedd Tripp Live: Parenting Teenagers

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Ah, the joy. I don’t know which was worse for my parents: parenting me when I was little or parenting me when I was a teenager. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to be a parent, but I hope I apply some of these truths now.

Session 3 – Teenagers
Who are teenagers are: insecure, vulnerable, unstable, apprehensive, tend to resist authority.
Common mistakes parents of teens make: spy, disengage, authoritarian vs influence, reckless words, majoring on minors. Do I want to be a person of influence in my teenagers life or do I want to be just seen as an authority figure. There is a difference. Reckless words wound like a sword… Words can be so destructive. The tongue of the wise brings healing.

Goals of teenagers: internalize the gospel, You are parents want your teenagers to embrace God’s truth as their own living faith. They are actually believing, living, acting on the beliefs of the gospel. Even if you walked away from the faith, they would continue to live on the Word of God. Use Scriptures in the life of your teenagers. God’s Word is invaluable, sufficient, God-breathed. The Spirit of God works through the Word of God in the teenager’s heart. Bring objective truth of the Scripture to your parenting of teenagers. God wrote those words. If your kids have a problem with it – they have a problem with God, not with you. You want to shepherd and nurturing your teens interaction with the truth of the Word of God. There is wisdom and vitality in the words of God.
Who is wise among you? James 3. Let them see it by your actions.

There will be periods of doubt in your teenagers. They will doubt. They will wrestle with issues of the faith. Do I believe this because I believe it or that I’ve always been taught this by my parents? They need to internalize their faith. They need to make the transference. You do not need to be surprised by this doubt, but work with your child through this, pray with your teenagers through this. Engage with them, interact with them, study, pursue them,
Ultimately, you want to develop relationships that leads to mutuality of adults under God. There is a difference how you will relate to your teenager once he is an adult. Proverbs 1:
1. The Fear of God. Show the greatness and excellence of God. Proverbs 1.7. He is more than our friend. He is God. We emphasize the familiarity of God and deemphasize his God-ness.
2. Do not forsake your parents teaching. Remind them that no one loves them as you do. Proverbs 1:8-9, Deut 6:4-9. Corrective disciplines are ways of life. Don’t see teenage rebellion is inevitable. Plead with your kids to not walk away. It is far too frequent, but not inevitable. The importance of maintaining this relationship is crucial. Parents and adults should not irrelevant in your youth ministry, churches, or your teenager’s relationships. Give your kids permission to tell you when you have hurt them. Be open with them. BE mindful of the gospel with them.
3. Disassociation from the wicked. The attraction of association with the wicked is camaraderie with a sense of belonging. Make home a great place to belong. Proverbs 1:10-19. Unless you are living in a cocoon some place, this will happen. There will be influences who are pulling on your kids heart – to lure them away from the gospel of God. Sin is so pretty. We need to help our children know how to pull away from those situations. Why would our kids be drawn to sin? US. Us is a key point of Prov 1. (I think of a recent Criminal Minds episode here). Attraction of belonging. We are dealing with desperate, sensitive, unstable teenagers. Any place they belong will be great. Make sure they belong and are welcome at home. You must engage them. They are looking to belong. Welcome their friends. Talk with their friends. Open your home. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to engage teenagers. They crave belonging. It matters more than your carpet and your china. They will spill cokes and they will break your dishes. Which is more important? Your child’s heart or your dinnerware? It’s just stuff!