Tag Archives: God’s love

On a challenging day

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This journal page was simply made using a fantastic picture I came across in a catalogue. I identified with the person pushing a bike uphill, and on a day that felt like an uphill struggle, I felt God reminded me of this verse which encouraged me greatly. The verse was written out on plain white paper using a stencil, cut out in strips and stuck on the page.

Tip: I like to keep a selection of cut out magazine images in a small box, and will sometimes spend a happy hour just ripping up a pile of old magazines to use later. Sometimes when looking at a verse, God will remind me of a particular image I’ll go and find to use in my journal. Other times, I may have a ‘prayerful rummage’ through the images and often find God draws me towards a picture, and then reminds me of a verse.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

‘Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.’

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’

I know we all have days like these. Where they start out well, or at least well intended, and the busy sets in, and the flow starts to go, and the ‘to do’ list gets buried under a pile of stuff. When the unexpected needs to be responded to. When things start to go a bit wrong, then a lot wrong. When mistakes are made, communication gets lost along the way and tensions can rise. Usually not over anything significant, just stuff.

There are days when it feels like an uphill struggle. And you can’t wait til bedtime, because God’s mercies are new every morning and you’ll get a fresh day tomorrow. Which HAS to be better than this one.

Thankfully on difficult days like these, God is still good.

And I can remind myself that His love remains, and endures, and cannot be shaken even when I am in the middle of chaos. He is always close by, watching and waiting for us to turn and ask for help. The tiniest whisper of a thought ‘Father, what should I do?’ can bring peace.

When I lean on Him in the midst of the challenging bits, I can find peace. I can ask Him for wisdom, and He helps me find a way through it all.

These two verses remind me to be content, because He is with me; and to not be afraid or live in fear, because He is with me. Found in both the Old and New Testaments, this is a promise of God that is relevant today and every day. He is our Immanuel, God with us!

Sometimes we may ask, why does God allow things to go wrong, and for days that are, frankly, a bit of a disaster (to be melodramatic) why can’t things just go smoothly and swimmingly all the time, we’d all be so much happier without all this rubbish to deal with!

But, what good would that do us? To sit in comfort, to take things easy? We would stay in our comfort zones, never venturing out, never challenging ourselves to take on the truth of the Word of God and APPLY it to our lives. We would miss the opportunity to GROW, to LEARN and to BECOME TRANSFORMED.

Children learn how to do things, how to become mature and independent, by doing things. By trying. By watching. Asking. Copying. By making mistakes.

I am a child of God and need to learn from Him by leaning on Him, in the tough times. This is what builds and forms my character, so that I can become more like Jesus.

I don’t always feel like I’m being transformed, as my failures and mistakes are a constant reminder that, in actual fact, I can’t do this. It’s impossible. I’ve never been brave enough to buy and wear a WWJD bracelet –  ‘What would Jesus do?’ Honestly much of the time I don’t really have a clue what Jesus would do, so I just give it my best shot and hope and pray that He guides me, covers me and prevents me from making too much of a mess of things, and yet somehow when I do this He always makes it good. Maybe that’s how we learn to trust. When we see Him doing just that.

His grace is sufficient.

Far better to walk through difficult days with God at our sides, than to walk through this without Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you that You are with me, at all times. You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you that I can lean on you through the difficult times, and that Your arms are strong enough to hold me close and carry me.  

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Finally: If you are going through difficult times right now, I hope and pray that you will be encouraged today. And know you are not alone, don’t be afraid to ask for prayer and/or practical help from family, friends and your church. We are part of God’s family and are here to support one another. God bless you – may you know that He will never leave you or forsake you, today and every day.

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Give thanks

Give thanks

Art Journal Note:

For this page I used some paper I had marbled using some old pink and green nail varnish! I also used a card template I have with a bird and some branches and leaves, to trace around and cut out the shapes. I simply arranged the shapes, stuck them down and wrote in the verse with a black roller pen.

Tip 1: How to marble with nail varnish:   half fill an old container (e.g. ice cream tub) with water, add some drops of nail varnish, swirl them gently with a cocktail stick or cotton bud, and then (ideally wearing gloves) dip some small pieces of paper (or other items) into the water through the coloured varnish and up out the other side.

This was my first attempt at marbling with nail varnish, to be totally honest it wasn’t a huge success – it was very messy, I didn’t wear gloves, I only managed to do a couple of scraps of paper before I gave up, and the house then reeked with the smell of nail varnish for a couple of days as the paper dried! If you are still interested in having a go (!) do let me know how you get on! I’m sure you’ll have more success than me. But it was fun to try something new and I did manage to get a couple of pretty scraps of paper out of it, and when the smell had finally faded I used the prettiest marbled paper to make this lovely little page!

Tip 2 (yes 2 today!): You don’t have to be fantastic at drawing, it’s OK to use templates! You can search online for free downloads of templates, to print off onto card and cut out. I often use these as home-made stencils to draw around or trace. I forget where I found the template for this particular bird and branches, but there are loads out there, birds, animals, nature, shapes, flowers, butterflies, alphabets….I have a few collections printed off and cut out, kept in little envelopes, that I return to time and again. I also like ones that look like labels that are good when cutting out shapes on lovely paper for journaling.

Psalm 136 verse 1

“Give thanks to the LORD,

for He is good.

His love endures forever.”

‘His love endures forever’ is found 26 times in this one Psalm! It’s the response that all the people made to the declarations of who God is, and all that He has done for His people. It’s a Psalm that begins and ends with thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving builds our faith and gives God the glory!

It’s good for us to remember with grateful hearts who God is, and all He has done for us. Thanksgiving helps us remember, and remembering generates expectancy in our hearts that God will continue to work in our lives.

Heavenly Father, I give you thanks, for you are good and your love endures forever! You are the God of gods, Lord of lords, you alone do great wonders – you are the creator of all things! Thank you that you are for us, and work in our lives. You remember us, you give us freedom and provide for all our needs. I declare today that your love endures forever. Your love will never end, never fail, will never run out.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

My Life in Your Presence

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Art Journal note: this page was created using a magazine picture, and I drew the outline of the lettering across the picture and cut out the letters carefully with a craft knife (on my craft mat). Then glued it all onto the page, leaving the white background paper show through.

For years, when praying I would often thank God for His presence in my life.

One day, while spending time with God it occurred to me that I had got this completely the wrong way around.

And actually, my life is in His presence.

There’s a subtle yet massive difference.

Psalm 84 verse 10 says:

Better is one day in your courts

than a thousand elsewhere

Yet God, in His great love, has made a way for us to be able to spend every single day in His presence, through Jesus.

Heavenly Father, thank you that this wonderful, amazing, crazy, busy, challenging and full life you have given me, is all for You, through You and to You.

I am humbled to think that You would choose me to be part of You, to belong to You, that through Jesus my Saviour I can freely enter your presence every moment of every day. Such grace! Thank you that You have loved me so much that you made a way for me to spend my life and eternity in Your presence. 

In Jesus name, Amen