by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on December 18th, 2017

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
– John 3:16
 
​There are two important components to gift giving. And no, it’s not shopping and wrapping. ha! The two important components to gift giving are giving and receiving.

In fact, the receiving might just be the most important part. Because what is a gift, if only given and not received?

John is telling us today about how much God loves us - ALL of us. God loves us so much that He has the most wonderful gift for us - for ALL of us.

The gift is eternal life with Him in Heaven. We are also taught by God's word that we all have sinned and this sin has separated us from God. But God loves us so much, that He is giving us the gift of restoring this relationship.

The gift has been given, it's right there for each one of us. But to actually have it, we have to receive it.

And as John explains, in the case of this gift, receiving is believing!
Have you received this beautiful gift from God?

If not yet, and would like to read further in God's Word, here are some scriptures in the book of Roman which tells more about God's wonderful gift and why each one of us are in need.

Romans 3:10-12
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-10
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Thank you Lord, for the greatest gift of all! Amen

Blessings Soul Friends, 
For my journaling, I layered some of the printable elements from our Every Good Gift download. I have them printed on clear label (sitckers) so you can see through them but I love the effect. On the ribbon across the bottom, I used my favorite white pen - the UniBall Stablo. It writes over everything!
 
  
Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired Mini-Series #EveryGoodGift
​Download the FREE 7-day devotional and journaling printable HERE

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on December 16th, 2017

" She will bear a son, & you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21
 
​Oh Jesus truly is the greatest gift of all! He was born with a specific purpose, to save us from our sin. To be a substitution for each of us, to bear the weight of the punishment of our sin, so that we would not have to.

Just as God has assigned a special unique purpose to Jesus before he was ever born, so has He done the same for you and for me. Yes, we each have our own very special purpose. And we too, are a gift to the people in our lives.

Jeremiah 1:5 tells how the prophet was assigned his purpose, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.".

God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in his mother's womb, God knew Jesus before he was formed in Mary's womb, and God knew you before you were formed in your mother's womb. And just as God assigned their purpose, He has also assigned your purpose, and my purpose, and every single person's purpose... all before we were ever a blip on our parent's radar.

Oh friend, you are so precious and so valuable! God knows you and sees you and knew you before you ever had a heartbeat. And know this without a doubt, YOU ARE A GIFT!

Can I admit, so many days I don't feel like it, a gift. I feel more like a failure, or sometimes a burden, or clueless as to what my God purpose is! Some days, I think I know, and then doubt sweeps in. The enemy loves to sprinkle doubt on our hearts, it can be so debilitating! Stopping us in our tracks, getting us off course and preventing us from realizing and achieving our true purpose.

But God's truth is more powerful than our doubt!!

And God's truth is this:
"___________ (insert your name), before I formed you in the womb, I KNEW YOU.
____________(insert your name), before you were born,  I SET YOU APART.
____________ (insert your name), I ANOINTED YOU as ______________________________“

Yes, that last blank is a big one. It's your purpose. It's why God has given you as a gift to this world. And only God can fill it in. Spend some time with Him in prayer, open up His word, ask Him for wisdom and seek His direction. He will provide it friend!! Your purpose, just as Jesus's purpose, was never meant to be a secret! Ask God, He will reveal your true purpose, He will fill in that blank!!

Now, go live out your God given purpose and be the beautiful gift that you are!

Blessings Soul Friends,
I journaled today's scripture using the ornament and red transparent washi strip from our printable. Printing these elements on clear label (sticker) paper makes them easy to include - just peel the back off and stick! And allows the print of the Bible to remain visible. 
 
 
Today's blog post is part of our Soul Inspired Mini Series - #EveryGoodGift
​You can download the 7-day Devotional and Journaling printable HERE

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on December 11th, 2017

"And the angel said to them,
"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of
great joy that will be for all the people.“

 - Luke 2:10
 
​It has always been interesting to me that when an angel appears in  the Bible, , it is almost always accompanied by a message to “fear not”, oh what a sight these angels of God must be. Surely they don’t look like the cute little cherubs we portray them to be.

But the angels main message was not about bravery, but rather a message of the “good tidings” which had come.

In this situation, the word used for “good tidings” actually translates to “gospel”. The angel is not only telling of the good news of Christ’s birth but also the good news, or gospel, of who Christ is and what he is here on Earth to do.

But let's don't overlook those last 3 words... this amazing gift of Christ is "for all people".  Initially intended for God’s chosen people, the people of Israel, but not actually for everyone. Let me explain.

You see, the good news of Christ is available to everyone, but sadly this gift is not received by everyone. And in that day, not even all of God’s chosen people accepted Jesus for who he was. So while Jesus came for their salvation, it was a gift that many never received because they turned their back on Christ.

We’ll talk more about receiving this gift on day 4.

Another interesting point I read from a commentary talked about how the angels appeared to these humble, pious shepherds who were just doing their job. It’s a great reminder that we are not out of the way of receiving God’s messages when we are working in our calling and abiding with God. This too is good news for us!

Lord, thank you for the gift of this good news. Thank you that you communicate with us to share your will and plans. Thank you for the gift of your communicators and may our hearts stay in tune with you so that we are ready to receive your messages of good news. In Jesus name, Amen.

Blessings Soul Friends, 
To add my angel to my Bible, I first sketched out her outline. Then painted in her face and skin using watercolors.  (sadly some of the artwork on the previous page continued to bleed through.) 

Then I cut her dress from some Christmas scrapbook paper and cut her wings from a hymn page. Next I used a glue stick to add both to my page. I also tested the placement first because I knew I would need to trim the right wing down to be able to read the scripture.

​I wanted her wings and dress to really sparkle so I painted over them both using my Gelatos and a waterbrush. 

​Next came her hair. I penciled in her hair then painted it with acrylic paint. I used acrylic (craft paint) because her hair flowed over her wing and dress and I wanted good coverage.

​Before adding her flowers to her hair, I painted the night sky background, again using my gelatos, and 3 shades of blue. I added the stars with a white Uniball Signo pen (my fav!).

​Lastly for her came her halo of flowers. These are actually apart of this month's free Every Good Gift printable. So just print, fussy cut, and add with a bit of glue stick or double sided tape. 

​The word bits are also part of the printable, they are the Luke 2:10 scripture card, which I cut in bits then adhered with double stick tape. 

​After she was all put together, I added a bit of beige to the rest of the page and the word bits to tone down the white abit. 

You can download the full 7-day devotional and journaling pieces for FREE through December 31, 2017 RIGHT HERE
 
Today's devotional is part of our FREE 7-Day Devotional Every Good Gift -
Download your copy by adding your email address HERE.

by Lisa Appelo on December 7th, 2017

  
 
​Christmas has become nearly synonymous with presents. We’ve barely even cleared the Thanksgiving leftovers before I’m making a long list of the people I need to buy for.

And maybe like me your list keeps growing. This year I’ll shop for my family but I also need teacher gifts, something for our Sunday school Yankee swap and hostess gifts to bring to parties.

I’ve always thought one of the gifts we can give back to God is our time. They say love is spelled t-i-m-e and so any good girl, any good Christian girl, should give God her time by reading the Bible. Before the rest of the house is awake. Even before coffee (or at least Facebook).

And I’ve spent way too many days, way too many weeks – even whole months if I think back on it – feeling guilty that I wasn’t giving God enough Bible time.

Now maybe you’re not there, but I have been.

There was the season in college, where I enthusiastically began owning my faith, meeting friends in my dorm for prayer and our concordance-led Bible studies, but the time came in fits and spurts.

There was a dryer season as a busy professional, where I was in church on Sundays and listened to Bible teaching on my car radio, but didn’t really open the Word for myself.

There was the season as a young mom of babies and toddlers, when nights merged into days, naps were for catching up on the house and alone time was a misty memory.

But then came another season. A season when life as I knew it collapsed and I was left a widow and single mom to seven kids. In that season, I needed God like I needed my next breath.

God’s Word became my food as He reminded me over and over of His promises made and promises kept. Each day, no matter where I was reading in the Bible, God would lift my head and my heavy despair. Every day, through His Word, I made a daily exchange – laying down my fear and taking hold of faith.

After all those years, I saw something for the first time.

Time in God’s Word isn’t my gift to Him. It’s His gift to me.

When we read God’s Word we see Him revealed. We’re reminded of God’s character, the way He responds to man and – more than that – we realize God’s Presence.

Now we’re in another season, when the shopping and baking, parties and plans of Christmas can pull us from time with God. Quiet time won’t just happen in this busy season. We’ll have to purposely carve out and guard our time in God’s Word. I’ve already seen that.

But advent helps us prepare. Advent helps pause the busyness and noise of December to focus on Jesus.

Because it won’t be the shopping and presents that prepare us for Christmas. It’s only the gift of His Word and God’s Presence that can prepare us for Christmas.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Blessings Soul Friends,
Lisa


 
​Lisa Appelo is an author and speaker, a widow and single mom to seven who loves to share the faithfulness of God. Her new book, Countdown to Christmas, is a 15-day family advent devotional that brings the real Christmas story to light in a new way with scripture and your Nativity. You can find more about the book here. 
Lisa has a great new book out just in time for this year's Advent season and today we are giving away a copy. To enter the giveaway, just share with us below about one of your favorite Christmas traditions. A name will be randomly selected on Friday evening to receive Lisa's new book

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on November 30th, 2017

Soul Friends, I would love for you to enjoy this 7-Day Devotional for FREE this December.

​To download your printable devotional, scripture cards and journaling elements, just follow the link below and add your email address and Every Good Gift will be delivered directly to your inbox. 


​Every Good Gift is a printable 7-day Devotional and Journal which focuses on the best gift of all - Jesus our Lord and Savior. 

​Included for each day is a devotional, a study journal page and a blank journal page. 

​Also included are scripture memory cards and Bible journaling elements and phrases. 


Let me show you how I am using this devotional printable during the month of December:
 

Print your devotional journal

After you receive your welcome email, you will want to click on the link in the email and download Every Good Gift to your computer. 

Next you'll want to print out all of the pages, here is how I printed mine:
The Cover page, Scripture Cards and Scripture List I printed in color and on card stock. This heavier weight paper will hold up great with these pages which get handled a lot. It also gives a nice weight to the Scripture List if you want to display for your family to meditate on during December.
 






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