Sunday, April 30, 2017

New challenge...God as Creator

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming
I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God
And all that You’ve done is so overwhelming
I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God,…

I chose this song, Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave because it expresses for me some of the awe I feel when I consider God’s creation, the work of His hands.
There are some people who seem to feel that science is incompatible with belief. I am a technical writer, to be specific, I write about the functional properties of food ingredients in manufacturing systems. I tend to have a logical mind. That could be why sketch challenges help me when crafting, it is like a formula that helps me organize my stamping thoughts.
When I look at the universe and the world around me, everything I find out shouts that there is a creator; that the God of the universe, who is so much bigger and more powerful than I could ever understand, made the universe and what is in it.
Consider just two recent discoveries, one on a scale almost impossible to imagine and one on the microscopic level.  this article in the New York Times talks about the rate at which the universe is expanding. The expansion is accelerating really, at an astounding rate, one that baffles the scientific establishment. That’s because this acceleration defies all the known laws of physics, specifically Hubble’s constant. We either have to reexamine physics or accept the theory that something called “dark energy” causes this anomaly…something the scientists haven’t ever found and cannot prove. Or you can believe that God as creator drives this phenomenon. Many places in the bible tell of his works, for this specifically there are a few passages in the old testament. One of my favorites Isaiah 40:22 "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a ten to dwell in."
From the vast expanse of the universe, let’s move to something a bit smaller, the dragonfly. Dragonflies eat mosquitoes and bugs that are full of germs and bacterial agents. With every meal or snack, they’re exposed to bacteria that could and should kill them. Yet using microscopy techniques that delve into the nanostructure of the wing’s surface, researchers have discovered that dragonfly wings kill bacteria. They’re trying to harness this knowledge to improve antibacterial surfaces for various medical treatments.
I see the hand of the creator in all of this, frankly in everything around me. A creator who not just made the universe and dragonflies, but made me, down to the inner workings of every cell in my body. And this is the same God who loves me and sent his only son to die for my sins. If you have questions about how any of our design team members came to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, please ask. For me, part of it is the incontrovertible evidence of my senses. As it says in Romans 1:20 New Living Translation “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
This week’s theme is God as creator. We have a sketch challenge so you can choose to create whatever you feel would fit into that sketch. We invite you to play along and we welcome your thoughts on God as creator.

Now for the sketch and some inspiration from our design team members:
Note that the circle in the middle just stands for the image you choose to put there. Some of our DT members flipped the sketch on its side and I moved the sentiment because I smudged the front panel. 

First up, Diane Noble

Traci Major

Now it is your turn!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mustard Seed's Marvelous Monday Mentions -- Easter

Good evening! Happy Monday! Monday got away from me a bit, but we are so pleased to announce our Marvelous Monday Mentions for the Easter card challenge.  Many thanks to all of you who participated. Don't forget, you have this week yet to submit a creation that has anything at all to do with travel, for our theme of Traveling Mercies.

Ladies, feel free to pick up the blog badge on the sidebar! And please visit these blogs to see the wonderful paper creations they have made! Thank you again for participating and sharing your thoughts on what Easter means to you.

We'd like to call out:

My Way

 Vickie O'Dell at Heartful Stamper:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Traveling Mercies...MSFC#3

Welcome back to Mustard Seed Faith Challenges. It is time for a new devotional, a new challenge and some new artwork from our design team members.

For this next challenge, our third, or MSFC#3, use something that moves or travels or is related to travel; a car, bus, plane, balloon, map, spaceship, globe...anything related to travel. 

We have a nice travel-related prize of a custom string art piece for one randomly selected entrant for this challenge. Due to postal costs, U.S. domestic only, although we welcome entries from any country, anywhere.  

Now for the devotional...

Traveling mercies

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve probably come across the term, “traveling Mercies,” which is a prayer for protection for a group or person traveling long distances. It actually originated in the early 19th century for missionaries, who might be traveling to dangerous locations. Now it is pulled out for all types of travels, from business trips to vacations.

The bible has a lot to say about prayer, and we are to pray in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing”…and then goes on to say “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

So we are to pray without ceasing—for family, for travel, for the world in general-but also give thanks in all circumstances. If we are giving thanks in all circumstances, that means we are entrusting our lives to someone or something bigger than ourselves. Who are we trusting with our lives and our circumstances—in all things, in the journey we call life?

These ideas of traveling mercies, trust and thanksgiving all gelled one day when I heard a speaker at an event I attended with my daughter in Los Angeles.

A young man stood up to speak through an interpreter about his travels to the United States from his home in Central America, the “Northern Triangle,” comprised of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. This is an area plagued by extreme violence, dire poverty and organized crime, which has caused a surge of refugees fleeing that area.

As he stood up, the first thing you noticed was his broad smile. He notified the ladies in the audience that he was still single. Then he told of his desperate flight from his home country, expressing his wish that the problems that plague the region could be solved so that he could one day return.

The second thing you notice about this young man is the brace on his left arm, supporting his one remaining finger; along with the fact that his right arm and right leg are missing. He fell off the train he was riding when was coming to this country, perhaps from a box car or perhaps he was hitching a ride between cars, of that I am unsure. But he fell off, and now has been left permanently handicapped. It is clear however, that he doesn’t view himself in that light. During his address to the audience, he raised his arm to point to the heavens and give praise and glory to Jesus Christ, with a smile of thanks for his life and his good fortune.

If losing not one, but multiple limbs were the result of one of our trips, how many of us would be able to give praise and thanks to God? To say that we still trust him? To say that he answered our prayers for traveling mercies? Yet that is exactly what we are supposed to do, in everything, we are to “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

In truth, the type of traveling mercies we should be praying for is the companionship and guidance of Jesus Christ through our entire journey of life, every day, regardless of whether we don’t stray ten yards from our kitchen or travel thousands of miles to another country.  

As I write this, I don’t know if I could, myself, give thanks if I, or one of my children lost a life or a limb while traveling, or in any other situation. First of all, I cannot imagine the pain of seeing one of my children suffer like that. And, full disclosure, I can whine and cry with the best of them. But that verse in Thessalonians is our guide, in ALL things, give thanks. And as Hebrews 12: 1 says, we are to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Sometimes during the race the runner might fall down. Sometimes, tragically, they might even lose a limb. The idea is to get up and continue, with God’s help. Because even without a limb, you can still win the race.

So as you “travel” through your day, as you are running the race Jesus has marked out for you, ask him to help you. Don’t just ask him to bless your chosen activities, but to guide them, to “mark out” the course you are to run. And ask Him to help you give praise and thanks, regardless of where your travels take you. He will be faithful to answer.  Remember, the last trip Jesus took wasn’t the agonizing journey to the cross, but the Resurrection, when he emerged victorious from the grave! He is risen and He is able, Hallelujah! 

Now for the gorgeous entries from our design team!

MariLynn DeGroot:

Peggysue (Jeanne) Turner:

 Tracey Fehr:

Yoonsun Hur:

All you need to do now is posts your creation using the InLinkz tool below. Thank you for stopping by and may you walk with God this day. 

One randomly selected winner who resides in the U.S. will be entered to win a custom string art piece from Nurturing Naomi. Selected the state you live in and your hometown and she can create a piece for you similar to the example below for Iowa. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mustard Seed's Marvelous Monday Mentions

Good morning! Welcome to a new week! We were so pleased to have contributors to our very first challenge, to use the color yellow. Our Mustard Seed Faith design team collaborated to pick out a few creations for our Marvelous Monday Mentions!

Ladies, feel free to pick up the blog badge on the sidebar!

We'd like to call out:

Angela, at Just Monkeying Around. That little pig looks so sweet in his tub of flowers!

Candace at Creative Candace added a lovely crocheted flower and talked just a little bit about challenges she has faced in her life. She has had several but always clings to the hope and promise of Jesus Christ!

We loved the layers in this mixed media card from Sew, Paper Paint! Thank you for joining us! 

You still have until Saturday to add your Easter creations for our latest challenge! We will fix the linky next time to show the thumbnails! That was an oops on my part!

We love all of the submissions and thank you again for visiting us here at Mustard Seed Faith Challenges. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Welcome back to Mustard Seed Faith challenges! We were so thrilled to have our first group of participants in our new challenge blog these past two weeks, with our challenge then, to use the color yellow! We are going to look through your contributions as a design team and award some blog buttons you can display on the sidebar of your own blog if you wish.

This week's challenge is to make an Easter card, layout or altered art/mixed media piece.

Easter...a little early for that, isn't that in two weeks? Yes, you'd be right, but we wanted to put that out as a challenge so you could create something and have time to mail it if is a card, or have it ready for photos if it is a scrapbook page.

Easter, or the celebration of what it means, is for me a year-round event. The gift Jesus gave to me, paying for my sins on the cross, has an impact on my life every day.

There are certain songs that bring me to tears whenever we sing them in church. I visited my daughter in Los Angeles last week, my first visit to her in three years since she moved there. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend church with her (Reality in Hollywood) and there we sang "Stronger" by Hillsong. Here are the lyrics:


There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner's cross 
You broke my shame and sinfulness,
You rose again victorious.

Faithfulness none can deny 
Through the storm and through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me!

You are stronger, you are stronger
Sin is broken, you have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen!
Jesus you are Lord of all! 

No beginning and no end
You're my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross.

So let your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher...

I generally lose it by the time we get to the chorus, "you have saved me..." Those people who cry at church? Yup, that's me and every tear is genuine. I am overwhelmed at the realization that the God of the universe loved me enough to take my sins upon him and pay them on the cross. Me, a sinner. I have nothing to bring on my own. No amount of good deeds, good thoughts, church attendance, family background, nothing can erase the fact that I am a sinner and all those efforts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) compared to the perfection and wonder of God himself.

You can read the resurrection story for yourself in Luke 24, John 20 or Matthew 28, to name a few places. But if you accept the fact that you are a sinner, that only Jesus' death and resurrection can save you, then you can celebrate that story in your life every day. Such good news! That's why we are here, to share the good news of what Jesus has done in our own lives and to spread that good news to others.

My words feel so inadequate to describe the joy that fills my heart when I think of Jesus. I guess the only way to truly understand is to invite Him into your own heart, to have your own story of redemption, to have your own soul filled with the joy that only Jesus can provide. We hope you do. And we hope you join us in sharing your own Easter creations. We will enjoy seeing them pop up on this blog. Thank you and God bless.

Please use the InLinkz tool to add your own creations below, card, scrapbook layout, altered art,/mixed media, or bible journaling.