King David gathered all of God's people to rejoice the return of the Ark with burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They lifted up their petitions, give thanks and praise God for His goodness and faithfulness. Israel fought many battles and King David recognized that their victory does not come from their own strength. With God on their side, victory was certain. Notice that God didn't prevent battle from taking place in the history of His people. With God's revelations and instructions to His prophets and appointed leaders, they engaged in battle with both physical (armory) and spiritual (faith) weapons. We do the same thing in our physical and spiritual battles today. What makes our fight as believers (Born-again, John 3:3) different from the world's? The answer---it is the very presence of God inside of us---the Holy Spirit! The Ark of the Covenant was a foreshadowing of what the finished work of Jesus Christ (His death, burial and resurrection) would do to redeem all of humanity from our bondage to Satan and the Sin Nature. We no longer have to carry a physical Ark just to be assured of His presence in our lives. By accepting what Jesus did on the Cross on our behalf, He has given us the seal of the Holy Spirit which is the very proof we are His forever and we have eternal victory. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
By now, we all heard of the senseless killings of our brothers and sisters in the faith at First Baptist Church at Sutherland Springs, Texas. I was surprised how close we are (about 30 miles away) from that community. The coming together of families to worship and hear God's Word was cut short by a madman who purposely fired at everyone resulting in 26 fatalities including an unborn and several very young kids. Though the Body of Christ could not put into words how heartbroken we are from the injustice done to our fellow Kingdom citizens, I haven't seen anyone acting so lost like those of the world. Are believers exempted from pain and suffering? Not at all. Do we always win the battle we engage with? Certainly not. Then, why are we not showing the same rage (which usually is a disguise for utter frustration and hopelessness) that the people of the world readily default to? One celebrity (Wil Wheaton) even went to the extent of mocking prayers that Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan) asked for the community in Sutherland Springs which he tweeted shortly after the incident. A direct quote of Wheaton's response to Ryan's tweet (minus the profanity) said, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless ------!" Wheaton later explained that his comment was driven by anger due to the speaker's refusal to address gun violence. If you want to find out more about this, go HERE. Upon reading the article, only one thing came to my mind? How blind and deceived---totally oblivious, he and all others who agrees with him about God, faith and prayer! Though I could share something about gun ownership, I would concentrate on the value of human life, the purpose of our physical existence and what the eternal future hold for those who trust is in Jesus. The truth is, everyone born in this world are spiritually dead (due to the Fall of Man) which makes them blind to the things of God. That condition stands forever unless we become Born-again by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and everything He has won for us through the Cross while we are still alive in this world. However, all of us are going to die physically (except for those alive when the Rapture of the Church happens). For this physical body is only good for this world--not suitable for the eternal life waiting for us. If you lived your life in Christ while in the world, you will live in His presence forever after physical death. If you lived without Him in this world, you are going to spend eternity with Satan and every unbeliever in the lake of fire. As followers of Christ, we know that God determined the number of our days on earth. Psalm 139:16 tells us, "Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." Though we mourn the cruelty and tragic outcome of this incident against our fellow believers, we know that this was no surprise to God! We are bombarded daily by the brutal killings of our brethren all over the world in the hands of godless men. So in our grief, we carry each other's burden. We never fail to encourage and see hope in the midst of tragedies knowing that the God of justice will carry out His judgment in His appointed time. We look forward to His eternal promises---strengthened by the faith of Christ and the assurance of the Holy Spirit as we combat fear head on---bravely standing against the wiles of the enemy. We are not alone in our sorrows, beloved! We always have a reason to give glory and thanks to God! I would like to share the encouragement of the Scripture regarding believers who are dead in Christ and the promised Rapture of the Church. We should always look at His Word (not on anything else) to navigate this life so that in all circumstances, we remain in faith relying on the Truth. Doing so would help us steer clear of the deception that is sweeping the world.
"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
For this Card, I used an image from "From the Heart Dig Stamps" called "Bouquet Chick" that I colored using my Promarker/Prismacolor markers. The base is white CS, cut and scored to make a 5.5 inches center step design. THe DP's are from K & Company, the flowers I layered are from Prima, the brads from Recollections, the white nail head gems from Imaginisce and the fence border I created using an MS Punch. I also added some glitters (Stickles-Crystal) to the flower and the image. And finally, I ran several panels to my sewing machine to create the regular and fancy stitching. I am loving this card.
O GIVE THANKS CENTER STEP CARD
O GIVE THANKS CENTER STEP CARD SIDE VIEW
O GIVE THANKS CENTER STEP CARD INSIDE
O GIVE THANKS CENTER STEP CARD WITH ENVELOPE-BOX
This Card is entered into the following Challenges:
4 Crafty Chicks---Give Thanks
Aud Sentiment---Bingo + Sentiment (Pattern Paper/Image/Stitching)
Cards 4 Galz---Thanks/Thanksgiving
Crafting with an Attitude---ATG
Hanna and Friends---Animals
Little Miss Muffet---ATG
I Love ProMarkers---Show Some Sparkle
Pause Dream Enjoy---Thank you
Sisterhood of Crafters---Sparkles
Creates and Makes---ATG
Fairy Tale---Thank you
Time to go, everyone! Please make sure to visit us at WAW and link up the projects you make out of our free Word Art although not mandatory. You can link up any inspiring, uplifting, family-friendly projects, up to 5. Our wonderful sponsor this week is Simon Says Stamp. So, head over to WAW and show us your wonderful projects. Enjoy your week. Always remember that God loves you and has a great plan for your life!