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John 8: 31- 36 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, `You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Freedom

We love the movie “Braveheart” in our house. We have since the beginning. William Wallace fights for the freedom of his country. He is tricked, betrayed and left to be martyred in public. At the moment of climax in the movie, he is given one final opportunity to submit to the king, but instead he cries, “Freedom” with every ounce of strength he could muster. It’s so inspiring.

Yet Hollywood can not even compare to the freedom we can find in Christ. We as Americans understand freedom better than almost any other country in the world. We are afforded so many freedoms. But what so many don’t understand is that the very things that we do with our “freedom” makes us slaves.

Many I think falsely believe that being a Christian means that they can’t do anything fun. It will be a life of dullness and dreariness. Others mistakenly believe that they have freedom in Christ to do whatever they want because God will forgive them. Yet the Scripture is very clear.  (And sorry this is so long, but freedom in Christ is hard to explain clearly and very important also.)

Romans 6:1-14

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

Basically Paul was saying that at one time we were all slaves to sin. We could not stop from sinning. It is impossible to be perfect. Yet, Christ in his life demonstrated perfection for us. And through his death, he gave us access to the very spirit of God, so that we too could have the ability to be free from sin. Not by ourselves, but through Christ. Since He died for our sin, we no longer have to serve that part. So we no longer can and should just go around sinning, simply so we can be forgiven. John Piper says on these verses, “We are justified by grace through faith alone because of our union with Christ whose righteousness is counted as ours. And now we see that this same union with Christ explains why we will not continue in sin.”

Paul continues in Romans 6: 14-19

” For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

John Piper says of these verses, “In other words: Don’t desire sin as much as you desire God. Don’t desire sin’s lie as much as you desire God’s truth. When it comes down to the conflict between the desire for what sin offers and the desire for what God offers, prefer God. Which means that one great strategy of living the Christian life is to set God and his ways before us as our treasure – as preferable.” Much like a person desiring to lose weight, the cookie loses its desire if the weight goal is strong enough. Both are desirable, but the more desirable will win out.

John Piper also addresses the issues of the being under grace versus the law. “What does it mean to be “under grace” but not “under law”? My answer was that being “under law” means that we are bound to make lawkeeping the righteousness by which God justifies us. “Under law” means that justifying righteousness comes from our own lawkeeping. On the other hand, being “under grace” means that our justification is a gift of grace on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s lawkeeping, Christ’s perfect obedience of faith (including his atoning death).”

So where does this freedom in Christ come from? In comes from being freed from sin by Christ. Piper states, ” We’ve been asking why being “under grace” guarantees that sin will not be master over us. Reason one: because under grace, the wrath of God is entirely removed and the power of God flows to us in saving, helping, keeping mercy, not punishment. Reason two: because under grace, paralyzing guilt is taken away and we are given hope that it is worth it to fight sin. Reason three: because under grace God himself comes into our lives and inclines our hearts away from sin and toward righteousness.”

So when God has us on His side, we have the freedom to be in His will; His perfect and pleasing will. What a great God we serve who is willing and able to free us from the burden of sin!!!

For more information on John Piper’s Ministries, go to : http://www.DesiringGod.org

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Isiah 6:1-4 “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.”

Seraphim

Taken from Wikipedia as a definintion on Seraphim:

“The Seraphim (singular “Seraph”), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1—7 , serve as the caretakers of God’s throne and continuously singing his praises: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His Glory.” It is said that they surround the throne of God, singing the music of the spheres and regulating the movement of the heavens as it emanates from God. It is also said that such a bright light emanates from them that nothing, not even other divine beings, can look upon them. It is said that there are four of them surrounding God’s throne, where they burn eternally from love and zeal for God.

The Seraphim have six wings; two covering their face, two covering their feet, and two that they fly with.”

Gabriel and Micheal are both Seraphs.

I chose these colors to represent angels. People often call babies “angels” or people who are being sweet. I think that many people have no idea how powerful the Biblical angels are. Nor do they understand the purpose. God is worthy to be praised and the Seraphim spend their lives worshiping a worthy God.

Ezekiel 10:3-5; 9-14; 18-19 “Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD. Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.
9-Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
18- Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD’S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.”

Taken from Wikipedia:

“The Cherubim (singular “Cherub”) are beyond the throne of God; they are the guardians of light and of the stars. It is believed that, although they are removed from man’s plane of reality, the divine light that they filter down from Heaven still touches the lives of living things.

They have four faces: one of a man, ox, lion, and eagle. The ox-face is considered the “true face”, as later on in Ezekiel the ox’s face is called a cherub’s face (Chapter 10). They have eight conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox’s feet.

Cherubim are considered the elect beings for the purpose of protection. Cherubim guard Eden and the throne of God.

Their rank among angels is uncertain but they are always categorized in the First Sphere. Some believe them to be an order or class of angels; others hold them to be a class of heavenly beings higher than angels. Cherubim are said to have perfect knowledge of God, surpassed only by the love of the Seraphim.

The Cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24 ; Ezekiel 10:17–20 ; and 1 Kings 6:23–28 .”

Also, “The cherubim, once the ministers of grace, are now the ministers of vengeance. When “commanded,” He without delay obeys (Ps 40:8; Heb 10:7).” (From the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary)


Genesis 29:16-18, 20-21, 25, 30 “Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her. So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and indeed he loved Rachel more than Leah, and he served with Laban for another seven years.”

Rachel

The Story of Rachel and Leah:
Jacob begins his long journey, both physically and spiritually, from his home and family. Shortly after he leaves home, God appears to Jacob in a dream, presenting the image of the ladder from heaven to earth. God speaks to Jacob and promises him protection, offspring, and the land on which he lay. Jacob then travels on to Haran, where he meets and falls in love with his cousin Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban. Jacob arranges with Laban to work seven years to marry Rachel. However Laban, who has something of a shady reputation, substitutes his older daughter Leah for Rachel on her wedding night. Jacob confronts Laban, but is told, ironically, that the older has precedent over the younger. Jacob agrees to work seven more years for Rachel as well. Years pass and the sisters, as well as their servants who are given to Jacob as concubines, bear Jacob twelve sons and a daughter. These sons will become the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. At the end of the portion, Jacob and his family depart from Haran and from Laban, and begin their journey back to Canaan.

( summary taken from http://www.kolel.org/pages/parasha/bereshit_summary.html )

I chose the colors of pink because she was Leah’s sister, and she bore Jacob 2 sons: Joseph and Benjamin.  The brown is for the years Jacob worked for her, 14 in all.  The brick red and maroon are the heartache over her not getting her husband for 14 years and being barren for many years thereafter.

The entire story can be read in an easy reading format here:

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Weekly_Torah_Commentary/vayetze_summary.htm

Genesis 29:16-18, 20-21, 25, 31 “Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her. So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” …Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. “

Leah

The Story of Rachel and Leah:

Jacob begins his long journey, both physically and spiritually, from his home and family. Shortly after he leaves home, God appears to Jacob in a dream, presenting the image of the ladder from heaven to earth. God speaks to Jacob and promises him protection, offspring, and the land on which he lay. Jacob then travels on to Haran, where he meets and falls in love with his cousin Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban. Jacob arranges with Laban to work seven years to marry Rachel. However Laban, who has something of a shady reputation, substitutes his older daughter Leah for Rachel on her wedding night. Jacob confronts Laban, but is told, ironically, that the older has precedent over the younger. Jacob agrees to work seven more years for Rachel as well. Years pass and the sisters, as well as their servants who are given to Jacob as concubines, bear Jacob twelve sons and a daughter. These sons will become the ancestors of the 12 tribes of Israel. At the end of the portion, Jacob and his family depart from Haran and from Laban, and begin their journey back to Canaan.

( summary taken from http://www.kolel.org/pages/parasha/bereshit_summary.html )

I chose the colors of pink because she was Rachel’s sister (both have pink) and bore Jacob 6 sons, and the black for the scorned woman.

The entire story can be read in an easy reading format here:

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Weekly_Torah_Commentary/vayetze_summary.htm

Psalm 95:1-6 “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”

Thanksgiving

The colors of “Thanksgiving” were inspired by a cornucopia. I found this picture and fell in love with it.
Cornucopia

Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition in my family.  My grandparents lived about 6 hours from my family.  Every year, we saw them on this special holiday.  We ate well and enjoyed the company of family members we hadn’t seen in a long time.  The last couple of years, my dad has instituted a new tradition.  Each member of the family goes around the table and tells what they’ve been thankful for that year.  It added a new and wonderful element to the already great holiday.

This year, I had an rough time with some post partem depression.  It was a rough time for me and my family.  I really struggled with my thought life.  A dear friend of mine was there to give me some perspective.  He told me to make a list of ALL the things I was thankful for.  To meditate on these things.  I did it.  And though it not ‘cure’ my depression, it sure helped me gain a better perspective and start to work my way out of the pit.

Honestly, there are really hard seasons of life.  Each of us has our own struggles to go through.  But even in the worst circumstances, there are still things I can be thankful for.  One of my modern day heroes is a lady named Joni Eareckson Tada.

She has a ministry at http://www.joniandfriends.org/  Basically she was in a diving accident  in 1967 and it left Mrs. Tada a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, unable to use her hands. During two years of rehabilitation, she spent long months learning how to paint with a brush between her teeth. Her high detail fine art paintings and prints are sought after and collected.  To hear her, you’d never know.  She is one of the most up-beat, chipper, God seeking people I have ever heard.

She could have every reason to be bitter, but instead she finds joy in each day.  She helps others who are unable to help themselves.  She ministers to her caretakers.  She can’t even scratch her own nose if it itches, yet she’s thankful for each and every day.

I have so much to be thankful.  All throughout the scriptures, God commands us to be thankful and come to Him with thanksgiving in our heart.  I truly believe, that if we choose to be thankful for everything we have and are, we will experience the fullness of life that God intended for us to have.  What and who can you be thankful for today?

2 Corinthians 5:17- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”


This colorway is actually inspired by some of the traveling that my husband and I have done. When we were very newly pregnant with our oldest daughter, we went to Australia for 3 weeks. We went to the Daintree Rainforest. We encountered the most beautiful blue and black butterfly there, the Ulysses. It was amazing.

Shortly thereafter, we went to Costa Rica. While at a butterfly conservatory, we were surrounded by hundreds of Blue Morpho Butterflies. They are also that striking blue and black. You can click on it to see it bigger!!

Blue morpho butterfly

You know how in school, we learn about the process of metamorphosis?  This caterpillar  is crawling around one day, spins himself up a cocoon, and emerges a butterfly.  Though it is the same being, he is no longer the same creature.  How does this occur?  We know what happens, but only God can make this creature become something totally different.

What is so neat, is that through the power of His son, Jesus, we can also become new creatures in Christ.  I know that in my former self, I was a mess.  I desperately love my children, but all I have to do is look at them and see my former self.  My 3 year old daughter has such a hard time sharing, and being kind to her sister.  Her entire being is truly selfish.  Though she’ll have selfless moments, she really is very self centered.  That is part of her sinful self.  She can never truly be selfless without the help of her Creator.   That is why the Christian life is so powerful.

At one time, I was like my children.  And then I realized my need for a savior.  I understood that Christ was the only perfect man to ever live and that He laid down his life willingly, so that I might have restored communion with a Holy God again.  And in accepting his gift to me, he in return made me a new person and sealed me with the Holy Spirit.  Just like that butterfly, I was made new.  Now I am not claiming perfection.  However, my motives and desires were changed at that moment.  I understood things that I could have not understood before.  And I am so grateful for this new life.

Much like the butterfly…  He has experienced flight. He is beautiful.  He is light as air and carefree.  Do you think he’d ever want to return to his little fat, crawling, caterpillar self?  I think not.  Nor would I.  I long for everyone to experience this amazing “Metamorphosis” in Christ.  If you ever have any questions about my faith or experiencing a personal relationship with Jesus, please email me.

Psalm 128:1-6 ” How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!”

Fruitful Vine

I love this verse. I guess I am a bit old-fashioned. I stay at home with my children. I cloth diaper them. I breastfeed. I knit and sew and crochet. (And of course, dye yarn!) But I also believe in classic ideals. I love the idea of fearing the Lord. Not like a hungry lion who is about to devour his prey, but more like a young Marine who enlists and a senior official comes on deck. There is a fear, awe and respect for the position and person. That type of fear creates reverence. And in this I fear the Lord.

I am the “Fruitful Vine” this verse talks about. The wife, within the house. The Lord is constantly working on me in this area. I feel like I am a vine with very little fruit. Though I am at the house, I often am not tending to the things of the house. It’s been over this summer that the Lord has been convicting me. I need to be content to be where He has called me to be: at home. I need to tend to the little “olive plants” around my table so that they may grow up into strong trees. They are only little once. They can only receive this type of instruction while they are young. It is not only my responsibility and duty, but my primary calling in life to nourish those in my home. I desire to train my little “olives” to become all that God desires for them to be.

This path is rather difficult for me. It takes a lot for God to work this way. You see, by nature, I am a very messy person. But my oldest daughter responds so much better to organization and order. My youngest is already trying to clean, at 15 mo. So part of teaching my children, is also teaching myself. I am so glad that the Lord is patient with me and that He has revealed this to me while they are young. I have been working diligently this summer to do a better job of being “in my home” while at home. Hopefully, I’ll be able to teach them and instruct them so that they may grow up to be “fruitful vines” in their own homes.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”
Tranquil Spirit

I’ve always been a outgoing and energetic person. Maybe to the point of being loud and overbearing at times.  It’s funny because I see these traits coming out in my 3 year old daughter.  She’s just always been loud.  I can tell that these things are just genetic and how God made us.

I grew up in a house where the way we looked to the outside mattered a lot.  It was always important that I represent my family well.  I was dressed nice.  I had my hair fixed and make-up just so.  That my outward appearance reflected well on my family.  As I got older, it also included my behavior.  It was important that what I did reflected well  on the family.

But as I got older, I learned the fallacy in this type of thinking.  I grew up thinking that if I looked one way to the world, then I was okay.  But my heart was never addressed.  I wasn’t taught that it’s what my heart’s motives were that were of utmost importance.  I think it wasn’t really even until I was married that it started to become clear to me what God really wanted of me.

He didn’t desire a thin body with a nicely adorned face.  Rather, he’d prefer a beautiful and tranquil spirit.  I had to learn that these were choices I had to make.  And I could not change myself.  Much like a piece of clay, I had to allow God to shape me and make me into a new vessel.  Now does that  mean that I’m no longer loud and boisterous?    Well, my overall nature hasn’t changed.  I am still outgoing and fun.  But my heart has changed.  No longer do I clamor to be the center of attention.  I’d prefer to take a back seat more often than I used to.  I long to be filled with a sense of calm that would have bored me years ago.  But what pleases me has changed as the Lord has changed my heart. And I hope these are the characteristics that I am training my daughters to aspire to have.  Praise be to God for transformations!!!

Psalm 23:1-6 – “ The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Songs of the Shepherd

This is one of the most famous Psalms. It is funny, because my parents taught it to me when I was a little child. Mom said I could recite the whole thing. Over the years, I actually forgot it. It’s funny how things are one way as a child and another as an adult.
Take Psalm 23 for example. I could routinely say it as a child. But it had no meaning to me. However, it is not something I have yet memorized in my adult years, yet it is full of things that mean so much to me these days.

Just as sheep are not the smartest of all creatures, we humans often make really stupid mistakes. I, for one, am in need of a “shepherd”.  I am so glad that the Lord is my shepherd.  He knows me intimately, and knows my path.  Therefore, He can guide me in the right direction.  He can lead me to rest when I need rest.  He restores me when I am in need of it also.  In all the storms of life, He is there for me.  I have nothing to fear, for the Lord is with me and prepares a way for me.  I am so thankful for the “Songs of the Shepherd.”