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Flowergirl Blog

Archive for March, 2014

Heart Absorption

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heart absorption beatitudes

In Luke 6:17-23, Jesus and His disciples faced a huge mass of gathered humanity – a mixture of need and motive with one thing in common – their eagerness to be there.

The truth rang from Jesus’ lips penetrating through the maze of human emotion, longing, and brokenness. The union of His powerful words with each listening heart would tell a story as different as the features on their faces.

“Blessed are you who are poor”… pierced through the fervent air. “For yours is the kingdom of heaven.”

The words slowly made their way into the crowd’s effort to grasp them. “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.” – an answer offered to restless reaching hearts.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” – a validation of their pain and a release to express it.

“Blessed are you when you are hated, excluded, insulted, rejected, because you follow Me.” – A promise of a great eternal joy.

Holy Spirit, make my heart absorbent to the purity of Your word. Infuse me with Your life!

Two Parties

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luke 5 sinners religious hungry
Spray with Ukrainian Ink Dyes

The Hungry Party and The Religious Party

The Hungry Party

Jesus encountered two kinds of people – those who knew they were sinners (I’ll call them the hungry), and those who did not know they were sinners (I’ll call them the religious).  Jesus was invited by both groups to parties given in His honor.

Luke 5:29 begins the story of The Hungry Party given by Levi, the tax collector, in honor of Jesus. There were all kinds of sinners there. Outwardly, they were a mess. Inwardly, they hungered for answers.

Picture a party like this today – a huge struggling, emotional, possibly smelly mass of people. The most sinful people you can imagine. Go ahead – close your eyes and imagine it!… And you’ve been invited as the guest of honor!  What would you do? Would the people be drawn to the tender compassion of the Savior through you, through me? What should we do?  –   Be like Jesus; love them; identify with their failing failings and struggles; show them their value like Jesus did; and encourage them to find life in Jesus.

The Religious Party

Luke 7:36 begins the story of The Religious Party given by a Pharisee, one of the religious rulers.

One of those hungry sinners, a woman, crashed the party to anoint Jesus’ feet out of her overwhelming gratitude to Him for how He had freed her from her sin. Her presence, however, appalled the religious sinner who had invited Jesus.

The religious sinner’s lack of reception of Jesus (no welcome kiss, no refreshing oil for His head, or foot-washing from the hot, dusty road) was a stark contrast to the hungry sinner’s actions (tears, aromatic oil, and kisses for His feet)!

The religious are like the old cloth in Luke 5:36-39. They are critical and self-righteous and, like the old wineskin or cloth, they are hard, brittle, and unreceptive. It is impossible for them to ingest the new life of Jesus.  The religious leaders could not see past their rules to the spirit. Clouded by pride and tradition, they looked for excuses not to believe when all the evidence was clear (Luke 7:21-23; 33-35).

But when someone hungers for a different way… longs to be set free into purity and truth, they are soft and porous – able to receive the transforming new wine that Jesus offers.

In 1980, I wearily crawled to Jesus with my hand outstretched for His life, and my hungry heart was filled.

“He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:9.

Lord, make my heart soft and hungry, so I can continually receive newness from the Holy Spirit.

Dusty

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hands and feet of jesus

Dusty and me

People talk about being “the hands and feet of Jesus,” i.e., being tangible expressions of the Lord…

Today, I’d like to say, “Thank you!” to my husband for being that to me. Dusty has been an encouragement to me since we met. Many moments stand out in my memory of Dusty walking beside me in a way that it just seemed like it was Jesus… and it was… Jesus living in him.

One such time was at a restaurant three years ago (the photo in the center of this collage was taken there). I had just left a job. Even though it was the best thing, it was very sad for me. I was crying, and, as you can see, Dusty was smiling really big! He was very happy! It was the Lord’s encouragement through Dusty and friends that saw me through that difficult time.

Psalm 142:3 says, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path.” In April 2012, the Lord birthed our business, Flower Girl Greetings. I’m thankful for this sweet companion named Dusty and for God’s loving sovereignty.

Flower Pressing and Floral Designs

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flower pressing floral

Pressed Pansies

The floral designs on some of my greeting cards are composed of pressed flowers and pointed-pen calligraphy.

In the mid-1990s, I began pressing flowers. It all began when Elisabeth, a beautiful German baker, who thought I pressed flowers, came to my door one fall day with baking pans filled with water and huge pansies of every color. She wanted to save them before the winter set in.

I learned that if I placed the pansies in phone books for a few months, their color would be retained, and I could use them in designs.

Here are some Simple Flower Pressing Instructions:

–  Use paper that absorbs moisture. Newsprint and phone books work well.
(Do not use wax paper, because the flowers will mold; they need to breath.)
–  Place the flowers in the books any way you want them to be pressed.
–  Lay the books flat and stack them. You can stand on them for the initial press.
–  After 2-3 months, the flowers are ready to use.
–  Store the flowers in flat boxes.

Pansies, delphiniums, dogwood blossoms, and others retain their colors very well. Spring flower such as crocus, gladiolas, daffodils and tulips turn brown. Press leaves and greenery, too. In the spring, you can pick leaves from trees just as they begin to bud while they are small and delicate and have all the characteristics of a larger leaf that is too big for your design.

Three of the Flower Girl Greetings Collections (Florals 1, Florals 2, and Florals 3) found at http://flowergirlgreetings.com/card-collections/ contain pressed floral designs. Just scroll down to find these Collections; you may click on each collection to see the details of the fronts and backs of each card. The cards are large, thick and vibrant and can also be framed. Click the following two links to view the outside and inside of our full-color brochure and to see the Collections all at once –

http://flowergirlgreetings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/FGG-Brochure-Outside-web.pdf

http://flowergirlgreetings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/FGG-Brochure-Inside-web.pdf

Tim Janis’ Incredibly Beautiful Music

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i like tim janis musicHow I first found out about Tim Janis’ music

A friend of mine moved away to Florida. In September 2010, I met her at a southern bed and breakfast in Senoia, Georgia to get caught up for a few days. We walked into a gift shop and met the store owner, Geneva. Within seconds, I knew God’s Spirit was in that place, so I stopped to try to understand why I suddenly felt so joyful and peaceful. It was the music. Geneva shared about Tim Janis’ Thousand Summers CD.

I looked up on her wall and saw many Scriptures of hope. What an experience to remember! Since then, I’ve purchased many of Tim Janis’ CDs and continue to give them as gifts. My favorites are A Thousand Summers and Golden Heartland. I play his Christmas CDs every December.

I thank God for the beauty of Tim Janis’ music and also being permitted to use it in the two Flower Girl Greetings Reflection Rooms! Please visit them at http://flowergirlgreetings.com/reflect/ for a taste of his music and my art.

Highest Compassion

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highest compassion luke 7 widow

Watercolor Sunrise

Luke 7:11-16
Jesus raised the widow’s only son from the dead. God, Who designed a woman’s body to carry and birth another life, gave His only begotten Son, offered from His very substance – begotten, not made – and then offered Him to us as the sacrifice that would bear the guilt of our sin.

He knew the pain in the heart of the mother. The tearing in her soul mirrored the tearing in His as He offered His Son.

Jesus was full of the highest compassion for her – the compassion of the Highest!

 

 

 

 

 

The Awe of the Lord

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fear of the lord starry sky

How do you take a picture of a starry sky? How do you paint one? I found this photo of the wall behind my nativity!…

In January 1989, two friends of mine and I travelled to northern Sault Sainte Marie, Canada to take a train out into the snow-covered Agawa Canyon.

Travelling through the Upper Peninsula, Michigan to our first destination, I took a wrong turn into a national forest in the deep night of the white landscape. Looking out my window (out, not up!), I saw so many stars that the bright vastness frightened me. It was too magnificent to take in!

Can you remember a time when the vastness of God took your breath away in a way that made you shudder?

The Hebrew word for fear is yārē’ and has several derivatives that have different meanings ranging from: the emotion of fear; the anticipation of evil; reverence or awe; righteous behavior; or worship.

In the Old Testament, when fear is used in reference to God, the Hebrew word is yirâ (pronounced yee-rah) and it means awe or reverence. This “attitude of reverence” is the basis for true wisdom. It gives us a true perspective on Who He is and who we are, motivating us by His transcendent might.

The book of Proverbs is devoted to declaring the benefits of this fear or awe. Here are just a few of the verses that contain the Hebrew word yirâ :

9:10 – The yirâ of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
10:27 – The yirâ of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.
14:26 – In the yirâ of the Lord, there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.
14:27 – The yirâ of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.

So, how can we reverence the Lord? How can we be in awe of Him and so increase in wisdom and abundant life? The Psalmist says, “I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands.” (Psalm 143:5) Can we take time to look upon His creation and worship Him in His glory?

In his poetic treatise on the Lord’s warnings and comfort to His people, the Prophet Isaiah says:

Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
(Isaiah 40:26)

Oswald Chambers speaks about this “concentration on God” in his devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Here are two excerpts:

January 23 – We have to maintain ourselves in the place of beholding.
February 11 – Imagination is the greatest gift God has given us, and it ought to be devoted entirely to Him.

We live in a lulling culture that has many easy alternatives to relaxation. I want to “make the effort to relax” in His presence and meditate on His grandeur.

Lord, give us grace to persevere in lifting our eyes to You. Transform us in Your awesome beauty and love!

True Success

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true success Jesus fish luke 5Luke 5:1-11

When Jesus asked Peter to put his fishing net down for a catch, Peter said, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and caught nothing.” Peter had given all his strength and time and still came up with zero. Then, in very little time and, actually, at the wrong time for good fishing, Jesus’ result was an over-abundance of fish that strained the nets.

Success comes from Jesus, not our hard work. Effort, sweat, and time are not the answers. Jesus in us – His presence and work brings success – overflowing, overwhelming.

Jesus’ culminating point in verse 11 is – You think this huge supply of fish is amazing? What I’m really after is an abundance of people for my kingdom of love. Reach others, feed my lambs.

Jesus definition of success was – reliance on Him that results in an emphasis on the precious people He created.

The Apostle Paul (a very hard worker) said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” Paul was driven by the wind of the Holy Spirit, buoyed by the power of God, motivated by love and grace.

Lord, let me be driven by the wind of the Holy Spirit, buoyed by the power of God, and motivated by love and grace.

Flower Girl Greetings Home Parties

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Greetings on this sunny, cold March 5, 2014 in Ohio!

Here is a photo collage from one of our 2013 Flower Girl Greetings Home Parties – many thanks to – Marsha for her hospitality, Mary for her delicious baked treats, Lois for her photography, and everyone for coming!

Does anyone want to have a party? Contact me through the Contact Tab on the Flower Girl Greetings website! The host/hostess receives card collections and lots of fun!

Home Party Collage