Category Archives: Sweet Start

SWEET START: Romans, Day 6

**A note from Becky: All changes come with a few bumps in the road. I have been LOVING doing a Bible study on my blog, and plan to continue for a long time. But, I wasn’t loving the length of my posts as much, or the fact that the two subjects felt disjointed at times. So, from here on out, I’ll be writing a primary stamping post, and it will link to the Sweet Start study for the day. This format will also allow me to more easily direct people who are behind on the study to a central page where they can get caught up. All in all, I hope you like the change! Onward, sweet friends.

Romans, Day 6

Romans 1:7, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Bless your friends! Bite-sized Bible study on

We’re finally getting back into the book of Romans after taking a little side trip to explore who Jesus is as the Son of God and our Lord. If you missed any of those posts, you can visit the main study page and navigate through until you’re caught up. To begin our study today, please read Romans 1:5- 7. When you’re done, you can read my study notes below. Let’s dig into the word together!

  • Romans 1:5- Paul says that he, through Jesus directly and for the sake of His glory, received grace (read: undeserved favor or loving kindness) and apostleship (a special authorized calling or mission) to bring Gentile nations to faith in Christ Jesus. As Christians, we’re called to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Do you feel specially called by God to a specific group of people? If so, I’d love to hear about your ministry, or what your heart longs to do when God’s timing allows! If not, be praying that God would lead you to opportunities and give you boldness in sharing the gospel when He would have you speak. No matter what, remember what we learned in the Philemon study– live out grace! Love people who deserve it and especially those who don’t. Let your life be a witness of what you’ve received– undeserved loving kindness– and pray that God would use your example to draw people to Himself. As Paul says, we “also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:6). What a privilege God has bestowed upon us! To be those who bear His name and image on earth. Heavy stuff, right?
  • Romans 1:7- Finally, our bite-sized study gets us to the addressee of the letter. Paul wrote this letter to Christians in Rome, and sends the exact same greeting as his letter to Philemon, verse 3: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  A classic Pauline greeting! Remember that this greeting implies the active delivery of the blessing by the Holy Spirit. It’s not merely a pleasantry, neither does it minimize the importance of (or exclude the person of) the Holy Spirit. This is convicting to me! I tend to say things to be “nice,” but without much actual expectation of the fulfillment of my words from God. Do you know what I mean?  “Have a great week!” rolls off my tongue without much regard to petitioning the One who can actually bless the days ahead. What if we got in the habit of turning our greetings, especially the spoken kind, into prayers? What are we afraid of– that God won’t come through for us? I’m going to make a conscious effort to reverse this thoughtless habit and not merely wish for people to be blessed or have a great week. I’m going to start asking for it.

Until next time, and with heartfelt prayers that you would be blessed this week,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper



Have you missed part of this study? Get caught up here.

Want to ask me a question or share your thoughts? I welcome your comments!

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Sweet Start CHALLENGE: Romans day 5 + PPA336 Sketch

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 5

Before moving on in the book of Romans, I think it’s really important to set a foundation of understanding who Jesus is in terms of how Paul describes him in Romans 1:1-4. In previous days, I’ve dug into what it means that Jesus is the Son of David and Son of man, leading into a discussion of the title Son of God. Today, I’m going to set up the stage for who Jesus is as our Lord. What exactly does that mean? Let’s work through this together! Just like in previous days, there’s a lot of depth to who Jesus is that is worth our time exploring.

Let us stoop: Here in the New Testament, which was written primarily in Greek, the English word “Lord” is translated from the Greek transliteration, “kyrios.” This word has a sense of a master, as in someone who has possession or ownership of someone or something. Furthermore, it is a term of reverence and respect, just like you or I might call someone “sir,” keeping the sense that the person being addressed is of a higher position than oneself.

This is a somewhat ridiculous example, but my husband is part of an organization called the “Chiefs,” and they have “Chiefs parties” that are probably similar to a frat party (and yes, we’re talking about grown men. Don’t get me started…) So, in response, the wives have Princess parties, complete with an Old Great Princess (OGP, for short) who wears a massive Native American headdress to the Princess naming ceremony. You get your princess name at the second party you attend, and until you are named, you are merely a “girl,” not a full-fledged Princess. At the ceremony, the girls must never stand so their head is higher than the OGP’s head, which means that for most of the night, the girls walk around in a stooped position. It’s really hilarious to see grown women stoop-walking. But, my point is this: when you recognize that someone is in total authority over you, it’s proper to stoop! In an exceedingly more substantial way, Jesus is Lord over all. By Him all things were made (Colossians 1:16), so therefore it is proper that all things are surrendered to His sovereign authority. That is what it means to fear the Lord– not to be afraid of Him, but to respect His authority over everything! Although I would discourage stoop-walking for the sake of your spine, spend some time thinking about what a stooped heart looks like. How should we act as Christians, as people whose hearts are bowed down to the Lord Jesus?

The Lord is God: The Bible tells us that there are many who are called “Lord” or “god” (1 Corinthians 8:5, Psalms 82:6-7), but there is only one true God, the Lord God (Jeremiah 10:10). We are commanded to “love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul.” (Deuteronomy 11:13) “LORD” in Deuteronomy 11 is the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH, sometimes written as Yahweh or Jehovah. The name YHWH was/is so holy to our Jewish friends that they stopped pronouncing it altogether, replacing it instead with the word Adonai (another word for “Lord,” but not the most holy name of Almighty God, the great name I AM revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14). We find YHWH in verses such as Isaiah 45:5 (NASB), “I am the LORD and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” If you have a King James Version of the Bible, anywhere you see the word LORD written in capital letters, you can be sure that it is translated from YHWH.

So, is there a connection between the Lord God of Deuteronomy– the Lord who is the only God according to Isaiah– and Jesus who is the Lord? YES! Let’s look at Isaiah 40:3 together. “A voice cries, ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (ESV) In John 1:23, John the Baptist tells the men questioning him about his identity that he is the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. And who was John preparing the way for? Jesus! (John 1:30-31)  1 Timothy 3:16 tells us, “God was manifest in the flesh.” John 1 says that the Word, who was with God and was God, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is most assuredly the LORD, not just someone who is called “Lord” out of reverence.

Is Jesus exclusively the Lord? You might be asking yourself, “well if Jesus is the Lord (the Lord who is God), what about the Father and the Holy Spirit?” This is an important step in understanding the nature of God. When Jesus prays to the Father, He begins, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” (Matthew 11:25) Clearly, according to Jesus’ own profession, the Father is also the Lord. Likewise, 2 Corinthians 3:17 explicitly says, “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (ESV) Thus, the Lord God is most fully known in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

But, there is a little bit of a catch here: it is impossible for us to come to know (come into a relationship or become one with) the Father or the Holy Spirit without first accepting Jesus as Lord, now that God has been revealed through the person of Jesus. It brings glory to the Father that every knee should bow to Jesus (Philippians 2:9-11), who has been declared King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus is what aligns us in proper submission to the will of the Father and the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, who makes us a new creation from the inside out. While Jesus is not exclusively the Lord apart from the Father or the Spirit, to us “there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Bowing to King Jesus has the effect of putting us in a place of surrender to the Lord God, in full. Try to bow first to the Father or request the work of the Spirit by passing over the Lord of lords, and miss the mark completely. It matters that Jesus is the Lord.

While today’s study was a little longer than I typically write, I hope it helps you understand the importance of accepting Jesus as the Lord. We will return to this idea in Romans 10, which might take awhile at the pace I study, but I pray the foundation is firmly in place to help us more fully grasp the message of Romans. Praise God for revealing His nature in Jesus! Now let’s get to some stamping!

Crazy About You #1

Ready for a new stamp set challenge? Here we go! My last set of projects featured the free Sale-a-bration stamp set You Brighten My Day, but today I’m kicking off a new round of projects featuring the stamp set Crazy About You from the new Occasions Catalog. My favorite thing about this set? It’s got tons of sentiments to mix and match, but also three adorable floral-inspired images that can be used in so many ways. I can’t wait to start showing off some of the fun techniques I’ve used while working with this set.

My card was inspired by the Pals Paper Arts sketch challenge, PPA236. Pals Paper Arts is organized by demonstrators in Mary Fish’s group, the Stampin’ Pretty Pals. I am directly under Mary’s leadership, which means anyone who joins my team also has all the perks of being a Pal! We have the most amazing support group. If you haven’t tried out all the benefits of being a part of my demonstrator team and the Pals group, you don’t know what you’re missing! Product discounts, rewards and freebies, recognition, lots of new stamping friends… I could go on and on. (Don’t forget that there are extra perks right now for purchasing a starter kit! Your choice of a free Occasions Catalog kit or 2 free Sale-a-bration products. Woohoo!) I’m allowed to get excited about free stuff, right?? For now, here is the PPA236 sketch:


The technique I used on today’s card is called “kissing.” Seasonally appropriate, right? Valentines Day is right around the corner, so I’d say it is (wink wink). Stay tuned for a webinar recording that shows you how I did the kissing technique on this card, along with some other projects you could make using this set and technique.

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA236 sketch challenge. Kissing technique!

The color combo Melon Mambo, Pool Party, Crumb Cake, and So Saffron is so bright and happy, don’t you think? I inked the layered flower image with Pool Party Ink and “kissed” it onto my Dictionary background stamp that had been inked with Crumb Cake before stamping onto the card front. I really love the look of text layered with floral images. It’s a little hard to see the “kissed” image in the big photo, so here’s a closeup! You’ll also notice the tone-on-tone Dictionary stamp as a backdrop for the sentiment words, and the delicate crinkles of the Crumb Cake seam binding ribbon. To make the seam binding ribbon textured with wrinkles, simply spritz with water and crumple up in your hand. When it dries, it will hold the texture! I folded mine for a pleated look in addition to the wrinkles.

Stampin’ Up! Crazy About You card details by Becky Gifford. Inspired by PPA236 sketch challenge. Kissing technique!

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get a  weekly post digest sent to your email so you don’t miss a single one! When I have more posts up for this challenge round, you’ll be able to access all the posts featuring Crazy About You by clicking this link.

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper



Sweet Start CARD: Romans, Day 4 + A Little Love Note

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 4

We have been on quite a journey together already. Beginning in the first 4 verses of Romans, moving through what Son of David and Son of man mean in regard to the person of Jesus, and now (finally!), the original title that stood out in Romans 1:4: Son of God. This is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will give us the framework we need to get a lot out of the rest of Romans!

Jesus as the Son of God: First of all, let me challenge you, dear reader. If you’ve merely checked the theological box in your mind that Jesus is the Son of God but you’ve never taken pause at the significance, it’s time to wrestle with this a bit. Calling Jesus the Son of God shouldn’t be an “easy” profession! The term implies a lot. Let’s examine some of what caused such an uproar among Jewish leaders at Jesus being called– and calling himself– the Son of God, and why this term uniquely applies to Him in ways it cannot apply to others.

  • It means Jesus is the Messiah: Messiah means Anointed One (the Greek equivalent of “Messiah” is “Christos,” or Christ). In Psalms 2:1-9, the Lord says to His Anointed One, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” The Son is the Anointed One, the Christ.
  • It equates Jesus with God: The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day believed Jesus’ confession of being the Son of God was blasphemy. Here is one example: “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18) Claiming a Godly paternity meant Jesus was claiming the divinity of the Lord God. If it weren’t true, it absolutely would have been blasphemous. Fortunately, Jesus was justified at the Resurrection. Remember the message of Romans 1:4? This is a great tie-in to what we learned there.
  • His Sonship is unique: Jesus is not merely one of many who can be called sons of God. He is the Only Begotten Son of God (John 3:16, for example). The term “only begotten” is translated from the Greek word monogenēs. It means the single of its kind, like the original Mona Lisa. There’s only one original Mona Lisa, it’s the single of its kind. There are many who are called sons (and daughters!) of God, but Jesus is the Son of God in a unique way that makes Him the only of His kind. In Days 2 and 3 I touched on the fact that only two humans have ever walked the earth who can’t claim human paternity– Adam and Jesus Christ. Well, day 5 of our study in Romans will reveal how Jesus is unique in his Sonship beyond that of Adam, and it has to do with who Jesus is as the Lord. For now, you’ll just have to trust me!
  • As the Only Begotten, He is the sole heir of God: This is a precious truth. Although Jesus is the sole rightful Heir in the Kingdom of God, he qualifies us to be partakers in His inheritance– joint-heirs (a talk reserved for Romans 8). His birth gave him rights as an heir, not his labors. Our re-birth in Christ makes us heirs, but similarly not our labors. What an honor! He is the begotten Son of God, we are adopted children. He inherits us (Psalm 2:7-8), so that we can inherit God– not the position of God, but our position in relation to Him; as loved and favored ones in relationship with God rather than our deserved place as sinners, objects of judgement and holy wrath.

The next Sweet Start post will bring us to a place we can plant our feet, in the understanding that Jesus is the Lord. I’m excited to share my thoughts with you! Feel free to leave me comments if you’d like to expand on something or if you see things a bit differently. I love hearing from you!


You Brighten My Day #5

Here’s the fifth project in my stamp set challenge. I got busy creating two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set from the promotional Sale-a-bration brochure, and after those two weeks are up, it’s on to another set and a new challenge!

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card by Becky Gifford. An adorable little love note!

Today’s card is a little 3×3″ love note, perfect for slipping into a lunch box or pocket as a surprise gesture. I can’t even tell you how easy this card was, and it could easily be made more masculine by switching the Calypso Coral out for Real Red or even a neutral like Crumb Cake. I think that would be really attractive. Lining up the “love” hearts and the trio of tiny hearts all in a row required me to pull out my Stamp-a-ma-jig tool since the set is not photopolymer, but that’s mostly because I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I know lots of stampers who would be plenty happy with the results even if the hearts weren’t perfectly lined up, but I know it would drive me nuts if they were more than a teensy bit “off.”

Before adhering the 2-3/4″ square top layer to the 3″ square card base with Stampin’ Dimensionals, I folded an inch or so of Calypso Coral Chevron Ribbon in half, and stapled it in place with my office stapler. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a big statement! Don’t forget that the You Brighten My Day set coordinates with several Stampin’ Up! punches. I stamped the Calypso Coral heart and punched it out using the small heart from the Itty Bitty Accents punch pack (it’s on sale this week!!), then popped it up with a single dimensional. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I am obsessed with the Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. Well, guess what? The Washi tape separating the two rows of hearts is the Sweet Dreams Designer Washi Tape. I’m in love with the Sweet Dreams products. Mmm hmm.

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card details by Becky Gifford. An adorable little love note!

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Here are all the posts in the You Brighten My Day stamp challenge series. Don’t forget to comment and share if you like what I have to offer here at The Social Stamper! Remember also that subscribing will send a weekly blog post digest to your email inbox so you never miss a Sweet Start post. Hope that is a helpful reminder!

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper




Sweet Start BLOG HOP: Romans, day 3 + January Pals Blog Hop!


Welcome to the first Pals Blog Hop of 2015. We hope your new year is off to a great creative start. To celebrate the start of a new Stampin’ Up! year, we are showcasing products from our newest catalog this month – the Occasions catalog. You may also see new Sale-a-bration products too. If you don’t know how to earn free Sale-a-bration products – contact your Stampin’ Up! demonstrator to learn more. (If you don’t have a demonstrator yet, check out my blog to see if you like what I’m all about. I’d be thrilled to work with you!)

You may just be starting the blog hop or may have come from stop #2, Maggie Mata. Use the full lineup below to move along from blog to blog so you see all of the new projects.

Here at The Social Stamper I’ve been doing something fun recently: a stamp set challenge. I pick one stamp set and use it on two weeks worth of projects to share with you. Right now, I’m working with the Sale-a-bration set called You Brighten My Day. What’s cool about this set? It is ridiculously versatile. The projects I’ve come up with all look so different from one another! Since this month’s blog hop is all about the new Occasions Catalog, I really think it’s appropriate to share a project with you that features one of my absolute favorite OC products. Sure, there are plenty of stamp sets I adore, but I’ve found myself reaching for one product over and over again– Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. The Ikat designs aren’t overly feminine, or overly babyish, or overly bold. For me, this DSP is the “just right” paper that adds a lovely touch, or a fashionable statement, without trying too hard. It’s awesome.

In the Sale-a-bration stamp set “You Brighten My Day”  that I’m working with currently, there is a sentiment I knew I had to frame: “There is always something to be thankful for.” Could you use that daily reminder as much as me? So, reaching for my Sweet Dreams DSP to lay the backdrop for my gratitude frame, I got to work making something I’d enjoy looking at with frequency. What do you think?

Always Thankful frame project by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day.

A Tea Lace Paper Doily is a quick and easy embellishment, just slightly peeking out from behind the Crumb Cake banner. Did you know a pack of doilies is only $2.95? Super economical. I stamped the banner in Night of Navy ink with the Dictionary background stamp, I love the vintage vibe it brings to the project. To pull in the Hello Honey color of the DSP, I stamped the tiny line of hearts from the You Brighten My Day stamp set in Hello honey ink, and cut out the sentiment using my Big Shot and the Chalk Talk Framelits Die set.

Always Thankful frame project by Becky Gifford The Social Stamper using Stampin' Up! Sale-a-bration set You Brighten My Day.

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Here are all the posts in the You Brighten My Day stamp challenge series. If you want to check out all the free products you can choose from with a $50 purchase during Sale-a-bration, including You Brighten My Day stamps, here’s a link to the online brochure. If you would prefer a hard copy and you don’t have a demonstrator yet, send me an email with your details and I’ll send one right off to you!

The next stop is #4, Kerry Willard Bray on the Pals Blog Hop! Thanks for visiting and I’ll see you next month.



  1. Amy Whelan at Amy’s Inklings
  2. Maggie Mata at Maggie Made Cards
  3. Becky Gifford at The Social Stamper
  4. Kerry Willard Bray at Peonies and Paper Chains
  5. Debbie Crowley at expressivelydeb…
  6. Amy Williams at Stamps and Spice
  7. Rae Harper at
  8. Sherrie Gross at Stampin’ Sunshine
  9. Wendy Klein at Doggone Delightful Stampin’
  10. Becky Volpp at InkBlossomwithBecky
  11. Nancy Gleason at My Stampin Space
  12. Jane Knudsen at
  13. Debbie Mageed at Secret Stamper
  14. Michelle Quinno at Shell’s Life
  15. Susan Lankford at Stamp and Create With Susan
  16. Karen Hallam at Karen’s Blog
  17. Kelly DeTommaso at Kelly’s Creative Corner
  18. Mary Fish at Stampin’ Pretty
  19. Laurie Chilton at Stampin’ Ink
  20. Brian King at Stamp with Brian
  21. Peggy Noe at
  22. Martie Pollard at The Crafty Bandit
  23. Kim Jolley at Stampin’ Artfully
  24. Beth Beard at My little craft blog
  25. Michelle Gleeson at StampinMojo
  26. Sue Becker at RnR Stamping
  27. Jackie Diediker at Stampin’ Jackie
  28. Natalie Bradley at Natalie Bradley Events
  29. Lisa Ann Bernard at Queen B Creations
  30. Candy Ford at Stamp Candy
  31. Dawn Tidd at Tiddbits From Dawn
  32. Angie Valle-Peters at Paperluxuries
  33. Amy Hoptay at Inking of You!
  34. Lynn Kolcun at Stamping with Avery’s Owlery
  35. Shannon K Jaramillo at Shannon Kay Paperie
  36. Liz Gautreaux at Kind Deeds Stampin
  37. Beth McCullough at Stamping Mom
  38. Nicole Watt at Pixel Maven’s Retreat
  39. Pamela Sadller at Stampin Pink Rose
  40. Jennifer Michalski at Stamping Serenity
  41. Shannon Hokanson at Paper Works by Shannon

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper



**A Note from Becky: Typically, my Sweet Start posts begin with spiritual inspiration and move into creative inspiration. To remain consistent with the blog hop format, and at the request of the (ridiculously awesome!!) blog hop moderators, I have moved today’s study on Romans to the bottom of my post. I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been caught off guard or offended by my original post! I want to be sensitive to others’ beliefs while remaining committed to sharing my heart with my readers. Here is the remainder of my original post!**

Hi, hoppers! Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip right over this part! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 3

For the sake of keeping things bite-sized, I’ve purposely drawn out the foundation I’m laying before we dive deeper into the book of Romans. On day 1 we reviewed Romans 1:1-4, on Day 2 we started to scratch the surface of what it means that Jesus is the Son of God by diving into one of his other earthly titles: son of David. Today, let’s peel back another layer and talk about a second earthly title given to Jesus, which was the most frequent label He gave Himself: son of Man!

Son of Man: again, to echo what I said in day 2, the humanity of Jesus is not the result of physical intimacy, nor the meeting of gametes. (I’m trying to be extra polite!) Jesus was “born of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:20) Beyond the prophetic aspect of the title “Son of Man” (found in Daniel 7:13), it is important to embrace that Jesus was indeed a member of the human family, truly a son of man, though not the son of a man. Scripturally, things get pretty interesting here, too! Let’s take a walk back to Genesis for fun.

The first Messianic prophesy we see in the Bible is found in Genesis 3. Right after Eve ate the fruit and gave some to Adam and he ate also, right after their eyes are opened to their nakedness and they quickly attempt to cover their shame by sewing fig leaves together for clothes, right after the first moment in history that humans tried to hide themselves from their Creator… God speaks. First, He addresses Adam and Eve and gives them chance to come clean and repent, to seek forgiveness from the One whom they sinned against. Did that happen? Nope. Lots of blame and finger pointing: first Adam blamed Eve, and then Eve blamed the serpent. Have you ever wondered what might have happened if they had just turned their hearts back to God and asked for Him to repair the relationship they had blemished with His forgiveness? It’s a curious thought.

I find it important to note in this passage that God never gives the serpent a chance to speak. There is no hope for Satan to obtain righteousness, and therefore, he is the only one in this equation to not get the chance to repent, and is the only one to be cursed by God. Eve receives increased labor (hard work!) and pain in bringing children into the world, a craving for her husband (something that is a blessing, and yet a struggle so that we don’t end up idolizing our husbands above God), and Adam was put in authority over her (as all husbands are now in God-ordained authority over their wives– don’t shoot the messenger!)  rather than having the singular authority of God over her life. Adam’s punishment is also unique. God cursed the ground rather than Adam directly, so that the land would bring forth thorns and thistles and increase the labor (hard work!) that a man would have when providing food for his family, ending with the proclamation that he would return to the dust of the earth from which he was formed in physical death. Death is the curse Adam and Eve chose for themselves when they transgressed the command of God. When God has already spoken regarding consequences, it would serve us well to heed His words lest we also bring a curse upon ourselves!

But Satan? Before God delineates consequences to anyone else, He issues the serpent’s curse,

And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:14-15)

Hold on a minute! Did you catch that? God declared enmity (hatred) between the seed of Satan and the seed of a woman. People, women don’t have “seed” anywhere else in the Bible. Historically it has been viewed that men have the seed, and women are the vessel that receives the seed. This is cause for a pause! Considering what we just learned about Jesus as the son of David in day 2– how it is very likely God used Mary’s “seed” to form a “son of David” similarly to how he used the dust of the ground to form the first man, Adam– Jesus is the ONLY human to ever walk the earth who can claim no earthly paternity AND can be properly labeled the “seed of a woman.” In contrast, what, you might ask, is the seed of Satan? Lies, dear one. He is the father of all lies (John 8:44), and cannot produce anything true. Therefore, in a singularly unique act of creation, Truth became one of us to utterly destroy the fountainhead of lies so that we can reject the bitter water of death and drink freely from the fountain of living water. The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of words spoken long ago by God, when He promised the seed of a woman would deal a fatal blow to the Deceiver.

So, why does all of this matter? Why should I care that Jesus is called a son of man? Hebrews 2:17 says that Christ was indebted, or had a duty (KJV says “it behoved him”), to be like us in every way so that he could pay the price for our sin. In every way imaginable, Jesus really was both member of the the human race, and like us in terms of the supreme human obligation to submit to God’s authority.  Otherwise, he couldn’t have paid the price for our sin– the shedding of blood unto death as the spotless Lamb of God and our kinsman-redeemer. As Christians, we must hold fast to the profession of the humanity of Jesus Christ, so that we can believe in our hearts the truth that “God raised him from the dead” and be saved. (Romans 10:9) If Jesus was merely projecting a human facade but lacked the substance of human frailty, He couldn’t really have died. Therefore, His resurrection from the dead would have been an empty promise, and we would be without hope that God can, and will, raise us to life with Him. Jesus never leaves us hopeless!

I know you’re beginning to think we’re never going to get back to Romans, but I promise we will! Just stick with me. I hope you find this foundation helpful as we continue to dig into the word together! If you’re really enjoying these Sweet Start posts, would you do me a favor and share them with your friends? What a cool thing that we can so easily partner together to share the gospel message!



Sweet Start CHALLENGE: Romans day 2 + PPA235 Color Combo

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 2

In my last post we began a study in the biblical book of Romans. I mentioned that there are 2 words that really stood out to me in Romans 1:1-4 that I’d like to dig deeper into with you before we proceed to work through the rest of the book. Those two words have to do with the identity of Jesus: SON of God, and our  LORD. Today, we’ll begin to examine what it means that Jesus is the Son of God. I’ll be drawing things out a little bit for the sake of keeping things bite-sized, nobody likes to wake up to feeling overwhelmed, right? I’m going to try to avoid that for both our sakes.

Understanding what the term “Son of God” means is one area where it’s important to shift our minds from a literal/physical place to a spiritual one. Why? Because Jesus is not the literal Son of God in the way we perceive father/son relationships. In other words, Jesus was not procreated by God the Father through a physical meeting of genetic material, if you get my drift. Don’t laugh if that seems beyond obvious to you! There is a reason why I’m clarifying this truth. There are those who teach that Jesus is the literal Son of the Father, based on the Father’s physical union with Mary. So, for clarification, I’d like to break down some of the more earthly descriptions of Jesus, other ways he’s described as a “son,” before we move wholly to the supernatural. Today is the first of two titles of sonship we’ll look at.

Son of David: In Matthew 1:1, we learn that Jesus is called a son of David by his ancestry. In fact, we just read in Romans 1:3 (Day 1) that Jesus is “made of the seed of David according to his flesh.” What can we learn about this title from the Bible? This is where things get really interesting to me. Laying aside too much detail (you’re welcome to study this topic more in-depth on your own), it is historically accepted that Matthew 1 reveals the Davidic lineage of Jesus through Joseph, and Luke 3 through Mary. Pause there for a second. We know that Joseph had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, right? Mary was a virgin, yes? Let’s call Joseph the adoptive father of Jesus. Adoption is going to be a repeated theme in Romans, so keep that in the back of your mind.

Now, there’s something at the end of Luke’s genealogical record of Mary that is SUPER interesting, go with me here and prepare for your mind to be blown (okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but this is exciting stuff!) At the end of the ascending list is this gem, “…Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” (Luke 3:38, KJV) Adam, the first man ever created, was called the son of God (yet not in a Messianic sense, not THE Son of God)… and what was he formed from? Sperm and egg? Nope! The dust of the ground, according to Genesis 2:7. I believe the terminology “son of God” has more than a little significance when viewed in part as someone whose body is created supernaturally by God, rather than conventionally. There have only been two men who walked the earth who could claim no earthly paternity– Adam, and Jesus Christ. We’ll come back to compare and contrast the two men later on in Romans, and learn more about the Son of God title in day 4.

For now, let’s bring it back to David. As the “dust of the ground” is to Adam, the “seed of David” is to Jesus. God formed the person of Jesus using David’s ancestral genes similarly to the way he formed the person of Adam of the dust of the ground. It was a singularly unique act of creation! To put any human refutation of Jesus’ lineage to rest, to make the promise rock solid that the Messiah would be of the seed of David, God chose a mother whose chromosomes (whether they physically contributed or not, although I believe it’s both logical and scriptural that they did as I’ll highlight in day 3) were Davidic in ancestry, and then caused him to be adopted into the family of King David through his earthly father, Joseph. Jesus was the truest son of David that ever lived, in every sense of the word! Through the powerful creative force of God, through the genetic contribution of his mother Mary, and through adoption into the family of David through his earthly father, Joseph. Cool, right?? The bible is full of really neat stuff if we’ll take the time to stop and dig. Thanks for digging alongside me today! I hope to see you for day 3.


You Brighten My Day #4

Here’s the fourth project in my stamp set challenge, where I’ll be showing off two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set from the promotional Sale-a-bration brochure. Today, it’s a Pals Paper Arts challenge inspired card! PPA235 is a color combo challenge, a really serene palette of blues. Here’s the color combo:


I have enjoyed combining the stamp images from You Brighten My Day with other favorite sets, and this card is no exception. Gorgeous Grunge creates a fun backdrop for the stars from You Brighten My Day, and is a trendy twist on a traditional baby-welcoming card, don’t you think? The sentiment is from Petite Pairs. I find myself using the sentiments from that set a lot more often as singletons than paired up! It’s a good one. I can’t wait to stick this one in the mail to welcome the 3rd son of my sweet friend, Amy. Y’all know I’m a fan of boys!

PPA 235 color challenge: Island Indigo, Soft Sky & Pool Party. Card by Becky Gifford using Stampin' Up! stamp sets Gorgeous Grunge and You Brighten My Day. See more at

Nearly all of the stamp images in You Brighten My Day coordinate with a Stampin’ Up! Punch, today it’s the star punch from the Itty Bitty Accents punch pack. Such a simple little embellishment!

PPA 235 color challenge: Island Indigo, Soft Sky & Pool Party. Card by Becky Gifford using Stampin' Up! stamp sets Gorgeous Grunge and You Brighten My Day. See more at

Would you like to see more of my projects using this stamp set? Here are all the posts in the You Brighten My Day stamp challenge series.

Come back and see me tomorrow for another Sweet Start! Do you have questions about the card or thoughts about the study? Please take a minute to leave your comments below, that’s how I can get to know you a little better and I treasure that interaction with you.

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper




Sweet Start CARD: Romans, day 1 + A dazzling hello

Sweet Start is a unique blend of spiritual and creative inspiration, and is an outpouring of my desire to share generously with my readers. If Bible study isn’t really your thing, you’re welcome to skip straight to the creativity! If you’re hanging around for the study, here’s a helpful hint: hovering your mouse over the verse reference links will activate a pop-up box with the text of the reference. Easy peasy!

Romans, day 1

I hope you enjoyed the brief 2-day study on the incredibly short book of Philemon, because things are about to get real for the both of us. I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew by diving straight into Romans, but I know the Holy Spirit will help me persevere through this book! I have to warn you, I’m not a “systematic” Bible student. In other words, I don’t really have a formula for the way I study the Word. Really, I just read until certain words, phrases, or ideas catch my attention, and then I focus my study intently until I’m satisfied (at least mostly) with what I feel like the Lord is trying to teach me. Today is a PERFECT example of that, so just stick with me as we dissect some of the finer details of this chapter that I believe will offer a lot of insight as we progress through the study. Here goes! We’ll cover Romans 1:1-4 today for our introduction.

    • The Who: Romans 1:1 tells us that this epistle (fancy word for a letter written by an Apostle) was written by Paul. The book is called Romans, because Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome while he was in Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey. If you’d like to study more about who Paul is and how he became a Christian, read Acts 9:3-19. I HIGHLY recommend the short read if you’re unfamiliar with the details of Paul’s conversion. It’s pretty powerful.
    • The Why: The cool thing about this book is that it’s written specifically to affirm the message of the gospel to the “baby” Christians in Rome. There’s plenty of deep stuff to keep the scholars busy in this book, but there are also a lot of sweet moments of affirmation of a Christian’s position as a child of God. I’m swooning already and we’ve barely opened the pages!
    • Called to be an apostle: Romans 1:1 declares an important fact about Paul: he was called to be an Apostle. What does that mean, exactly? The Greek word is apostolos, and it means a delegate, a messenger, one sent forth with orders. I’m glad I looked this word up in my concordance, because through a train of thought I ended up contrasting it with the word “mathetes,” which we translate as disciple (a student, learner). Jesus had many disciples, but he called 12 specific men forth from amongst his disciples to be “apostolos.” (Luke 6:13) Being an apostle was an important distinction, and though not one of the original twelve, he was certainly sent forth by God with orders to bring the gospel message to the Gentiles.
    • Set apart for the gospel: verse 1 also tells us that Paul was set apart for the gospel. This Greek word is “euaggelion,” and it means good tidings. We oftentimes refer to it as “good news” nowadays.
      • Not just any gospel: There’s lots of news that can be called good. Your best friend got engaged– good news! But, the specific “good news” that Paul preached is detailed in Romans 1:2. It is, specifically, the good news that God promised through the prophets of the Jewish scriptures of the coming Messiah. The good news about God’s SON.
      • Who is the Son? Paul elaborates on who this “Son” is:
        • Jesus Christ our LORD. In case we had any doubts about who the Son might be, Paul settles the matter outright.
        • A descendent of David according to his flesh (see also John 1, Romans 9:5, and Matthew 1:1)
        • The one who rose from the dead: the message of Romans 1:4 is that Jesus was powerfully declared to be the Son of God at the resurrection. In other words, His resurrection proves His incarnation in a powerful way.
  • SON and LORD. Now that we’ve dipped our big toe into Romans, I’d like to side step a bit for the next few days to lay an important foundation for understanding not only this book, but who Jesus really is. Remember how I tend to study things that really stick out to me as I read? Well, these two words that identify the Savior are quite small, yet exceedingly deep in significance. Stick around with me by checking back here daily and subscribing so you don’t miss the details! Until next time, here is a dose of creativity to energize your day!

You Brighten My Day #3

Here’s the third project in my stamp set challenge, where I’ll be showing off two weeks of projects using the You Brighten My Day stamp set. This set is one of the free gift options with any $50 purchase now through March 31st, during the Sale-A-Bration promotion. I’ve really enjoyed working with these images! They’re very versatile and coordinate with a lot of different punches, like the What’s Up Punch. I used the punch for two elements on today’s card: a Basic Gray card stock arrow and a little stamped Soft Sky house. I’m thrilled that Stampin’ Up! re-imagined the arrow, we all love to make our supplies do some leg work by using them beyond the obvious, and in this case the creative-use thinking is already done for you! Gracias, product designers.

Stampin’ Up! You Brighten My Day card by Becky Gifford. Uses "Hello You" Thinlits dies and gold glimmer paper for extra sparkle!

This would be a great “welcome to the neighborhood” card, in fact, I’m going to be on the lookout for an opportunity to introduce myself using this card very soon! It would be easy to make a handful of the same design to keep around since there are very few elements. Here are a few other features you might be wondering about:

  • The sparkly “hello” is made from the new Hello You Thinlits Dies and Gold Glimmer Paper. Gorgeous, right?
  • “So glad you’re here” is the irreplaceable sentiment that makes this card perfect for a warm welcome. It comes from the stamp set Petite Pairs. It’s supposed to pair with “Welcome, baby” but your recipient won’t know that! Shhh, our little stamping secret.
  • Do you love the background paper? It’s my favorite paper that’s been released this whole year, called Sweet Dreams Designer Series Paper. I love that it’s sophisticated but in a trendy sort of way.

You Brighten My Day 1-3 details

If you like this card, don’t forget to pin and share so you can remember the things that inspired you later on!

Many Blessings & Happy Stamping,
Shop Now Signature Becky Gifford The Social Stamper


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