Sunday, February 26, 2012

Unleash Your Joy!


Unleash Your Joy!

Good Sunday morning!! I am your hostess this week for the Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge to stamp inspired by scripture! The scripture, challenge, and devotional can be read in full here...but please be sure to stop by our blog to see all the fun and colorful DT challenge cards!

James 1:2-3 "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."


I’ve been participating in a Bible study on the book of James this past several weeks. When we came to this verse, I was immediately drawn to the meaning of the word “various.” This word is translated: poikilois: existing in various kinds of modes, diversified, manifold, variegated, many- colored. As a stamper you can imagine the words, “many colored,” caught my attention. When I think of “many- colored,” my mind rests on brightly colored poppies in green meadows, the aurora borealis sky, or the variegated greens of the lush walking trails I remember while living in Oregon. But when looking at my own set of recent trials, the first color that came to mind was gray. The stretch of gray that descended like a canopy of bleakness over a sky that did not contain a sun. I had to ask myself, is this what God is trying to produce in me? Instead of stalwart of faith; I was allowing this trial to take my very feet from under me and become a victim rather than a victor.

Then the bouquet of flowers arrived. There they were, a dozen roses, in beautiful hues of pale pink, peach, lavenders, and pure white. They sat in a vase on my table, and each time I stood in my kitchen, I was reminded of the word “many-colored.” Each time I watered the flowers, I was given a waft of aromatic fragrance that was beautiful. God was speaking softly to me through those flowers. Could it be that my multi-colored trials are like these flowers? Are they not given from the outstretched hand of a loving God? Whatever my thoughts on my particular set of trials, God says that I am to consider it a great joy. I have always grappled with this verse. Have you? I think sometimes the way I think about a trial is more important than the trial itself. If I think of it as a punishment coming from a punitive God, then I will most likely either rebel in resentment or cower in a corner. But if I “consider” beforehand that trials are allowed by and sometimes providentially given to me for the testing of my faith with the end product being endurance…then isn’t that a good thing? For the testing of my faith proves that I am His. And if my faith fails then that is a gift because it allows me to realize I have been relying on my own self-sufficiency instead of my need for God! And then the opportunity presents itself to run to Him. The shift in thinking then is where part of the victory lies.

And then I came to 1 Peter 4:10: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” There is the word, “manifold” again, many-colored. Many-colored grace. So for every many-colored trial, there is also a multicolored grace given by God.

So then, I wonder…if when we are going through a trial, part of the victory is in being able to come alongside someone else who is suffering and serve them? How many times have you or I gone through something and later a friend or someone in your circle of influence needs the same thing that you were given during your time of suffering? Grace…it can come in all forms. I am reminded of the friend who visited me as I sat with our daughter after spending the fifth night in the hospital with a window seat as my bed. She came with a basket containing a pot of tea and a bag of popcorn. As she poured the tea into the teacup…the china cup was filled with the loveliest shade of orange and amber liquid. Grace for my trial. And just as there are manifold (multi-colored) trials…God has given us multi-colored grace.

Amy Carmichael, one who suffered much, wrote this:



“The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things…not great thing that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings that you are ashamed of minding at all. Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.”

The Challenge:

Create a card with variegated colors. This can mean a monochromatic card with various shades of one color, or a card that shows variegated as in a variety of colors, or a pop of bright colors in unison as in a bouquet of flowers. Be creative!
Our Prize Sponsor is : LaLa Land Crafts, so be sure to visit them to thank them for their sponsorship!

My Card details:
Stamps: Flourishes: Kids at Play, Country Charm Labels (sentiment)
Paper: Watercolor, Bazill Blue, Basic Black
Ink: Memento Black, Luminarte for the sky (for a bit of sparkle and color)
Accessories: SU! Dimensionals

Thanks so very much for coming by and supporting Stampin' Sisters in Christ. We hope you will join us in this colorful challenge and can't wait to see all your creations!

16 comments:

  1. Traci, your message this week is a real blessing. Thank you for sharing. Like you, I thought of shades of grey for my project and wonder if this kind of reflects how I have been viewing my own fiery trial? Between your post and something I read last night (see my post for this week's challenge), I have been blessed.

    Hugs
    Wendy xx

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  2. Tracy, I just love this! Your "swooshy" rainbow is fantastic. Your card and your devotional are both inspirational this week. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  3. Traci your devotional was truly inspired today! I was truly blessed by it and I say amen to each thought!!! Love your pretty card... bursting forth with an array of beautiful colors, reflecting the source of true light within you!!!

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  4. Love, love that card! What a super terrific rainbow! Your devotion is wonderful! Absolutely terrific food for thought! You did do your research! Have a wonderful week Traci!

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  5. Really appreciate your post today! Thanks for teaching that trials can actually be from God and are the ways He uses to grow us in our sanctification process. God is faithful and trustworthy to see us through!

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  6. Beautiful words and encouraging thoughts shared this week Traci... thank you so much!! Your card is JOYous! Love the rainbow of colors and the kids playing is such a happy picture. Hope you have a great week! Hugs, Kris

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  7. Beautiful words and encouraging thoughts shared this week Traci... thank you so much!! Your card is JOYous! Love the rainbow of colors and the kids playing is such a happy picture. Hope you have a great week! Hugs, Kris

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  8. I love your bright, happy card, Traci! Such a cool rainbow.

    And because you are such an inspiration to many on several different levels, I left something for you at my blog: http://wheremmsgather.blogspot.com/2012/02/blog-award.html

    Have a great day!

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  9. Love the beautiful rainbow and how joy eminates from it :) Your insight into the scripture and application is a real blessing!

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  10. Love the beautiful rainbow! Very inspiring!

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  11. Traci, your card is so precious, but even more meaningful is your beautiful devotion for SSIC devotion this week. It just really resonated with where I too have been over the last several months. I loved your color analogies and how you express the heart of God to bring us many hues of joy even in the midst of trial. Our great God is quite the artist isn't He. He can paint forgiveness in the heart that has been deeply hurt, and splash the brilliance of joy over a heart that could easily choose despair. The "manifold grace of God"....beautiful indeed.

    I'd hoped to participate this week and it's been in my mind to do so all week long. But I've been getting ready for out-of-town company who want to play in my craft room...and it has been such a mess until today. Finally I'm caught up. So if God will weave a little color into my mind and give me a healthy dose of creativity I must just still play. Whether or not I accomplish it, I wanted you to know I read your devotion and deeply appreciate it. You have a beautiful heart indeed, sister!

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  12. So pretty with the rainbow behind the image!!!

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  13. WOW Traci - what a wonderful devotional and such a great challenge! I love the wsay you have used colour - beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration on so many levels my friend! {{{hugs}}}

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  14. I have been traveling a lot and am out of town again but I had to come on and say how much your devotional has blessed me this week. Beautifully written . . .the part that hits me the hardest is the bit about doing it on our own power and failing . . . because we're doing it on our own power. How often do I do that! Thanks again, great challenge.

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  15. what a wonderfully creative and happy card....perfect way to hightlight that silhouetted children image

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  16. Wow what a statement this card makes. Rainbows are one of my most favorite things God has ever created. They have a special meaning for me and I just love it with this stamp set. Your did such a great job. Love this write up....

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Thanks for stopping by, your comments are a treasured part of my day!!