May 22, 2017

But I Want It!

Devotion for the Week...

I deal with toddlers all day long. Sometimes when they want to do something, they ask for it over and over and over and over and over..."I want colour." "I want colour." "I want colour." It doesn't matter that I've already said they have to wait until I get the lunch dishes cleared off the table so there's room to colour, they just keep asking and asking as if saying it more often will make it happen sooner.

Or maybe they want a toy someone else already has. "I want phone." "Yes, but it's Fiona's turn." "I want phone." "I heard you, but it's not your turn." "I want phone." "You still have to wait." Saying it over and over won't change the fact that they can't have it yet.

It makes me wonder how often God hears our prayers and answers with "Wait," but we keep asking and asking and asking, as if the more we ask the faster it will happen. How often does He shake His head at our incessant requests for the same thing, all the while knowing that He has answered and we just won't listen?

This question is further complicated by the fact that God wants us to come to Him with our requests, and even encourages us to come repeatedly. Luke 18:1 actually says, "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." The parable of the persistent widow tells the story of a widow who came to the home of "a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought" (v. 2) and pleaded with him to "Grant me justice against my adversary" (v. 3). Finally the judge granted her request, not because he wanted to do the right thing, but because the widow kept bothering him (v. 5). The point is not that we can wear God down by constantly asking for what we need, but that we should never give up in asking. 

I think the key here, though, is that the widow was asking for justice against an adversary. She was asking for something she needed. Jesus concluded that parable by saying, "And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly (vv. 7,8). 

When we are asking for something we need, then God will answer and He will do so quickly. But He's not working on our timetable and we are to be persistent in the asking until He meets our need.

But how often are we simply asking for what we want because it will make our lives easier? Never mind the plan God has for us, or how He wants to shape us through the hard times in our lives. We want everything to be easy and pleasant and good. And if it's not the way we want, we pray and pray and pray and pray that God will make it the way we want.

The toddlers I look after have to learn patience. They need to learn to take turns with the toys and they need to learn that the whole world doesn't revolve around what they want. It can be a hard lesson for them to learn. 

We may be adults, but there are times we behave like toddlers, wanting God to let us have our own way all the time. Just as that isn't what is best for toddlers, it isn't what is best for us either.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |

What if God is saying to us, "Wait. This has to happen first and then you can have that." Or what if He is saying, "This is not the time for you to have this thing you want. You need to learn patience. You have to wait." Or even, "No. There is a lesson for you in this." After all, God didn't remove the thorn in Paul's flesh, but left it there as a reminder that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:8,9). And Paul stopped asking. 

Maybe we need to stop asking for some things, too.

May 15, 2017

Completly Clean

Devotion for the Week...

I love my dishwasher. We use it constantly, running it pretty much once a day and it saves me tons of time in the kitchen. When Paul and I went away a few weeks ago, my in-laws came to stay with the boys and afterwards one of the boys said to me, "Nana didn't use the dishwasher the whole time she was here!" I think he was in awe, lol.

My mind makes odd connections sometimes, so last week at church when Pastor OJ was speaking, my mind immediately went to my dishwasher. He had just read, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9), and I thought, "Not like the dishwasher!" See, odd connections 😊

As I said, I love my dishwasher. It does a great job cleaning dishes so I don't have to. But there are always some dishes that don't come clean. You know what I mean, right? Those spoons that ended up nested together and there's spaghetti sauce trapped between them. Or the measuring cup that flipped over and now it's full of filthy water.

That doesn't happen when God cleanses us from all unrighteousness. That verse really means all unrighteousness. There are no sins that get missed, none that He doesn't see and cleanse when we confess them to Him.

Again, I love my dishwasher, but there are some dishes I never even bother to put in it because I know they won't come clean. For some reason any spatula or flipper used to cook eggs will not come clean in my dishwasher. The bits of egg just come out more baked on than they were when I put them in. And the gooey, cheesy mess that's left on the serving utensils after we eat lasagne? Not a chance! There's something about that cheesy stuff that just will not come off unless I wash it by hand (even though the pan I cooked the lasagne in comes perfectly clean. Go figure!).

Some of us think there are some sins so bad God can't ever forgive them. Or we think we've been dealing with some sin for so long, there's no way God can take it away. But that's not what this verse says. God isn't like a dishwasher that's capable of dealing with some messes, but not others. He can handle the worst of our sins and remove them from our lives completely.

It's not our job to clean up our lives. Did you see that in the verse? It doesn't say that when I get my act together I will be cleansed of all unrighteousness. And thank God for that! I don't have to make myself perfect. In fact, I can't make myself perfect. But if we are willing to go to God and acknowledge all the ways we have messed up, all the things we have done wrong, then He will take care of all of it. All of it.
 Weekly devotions on Christian living |
We emerge from that soul cleansing completely clean. There are no baked on sins stuck so tight to us that God couldn't remove them. There are no sins trapped in hard-to-reach places that God couldn't get to. And there are no sins that God just can't remove. Whatever sin we have been dealing with, afraid that God couldn't handle it, we can go to Him boldly and confess that sin, knowing that He can take it away completely.

Think about that the next time you're unloading the dishwasher and some of the dishes aren't quite clean.

May 12, 2017

Quilts for Seniors - Update 2

It's time for another update on where things stand with the quilts for the seniors who lost everything in the fire last month. Packages are still arriving almost every day, though it has definitely slowed down from what it was a week or so ago. I have now had parcels from 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces and 1 of the 3 territories. From the US, I've had parcels from 29 states. And I had one envelope of blocks come all the way from Australia!

Let's are the quilt tops waiting to be quilted.
Stack of quilt tops |

Here are the blocks waiting to be sorted into bundles of 42, ready to become a quilt top. The shorter pile is blocks that finished smaller than 10 1/2", so I'm going to trim them to 10" and then they'll go together. My plan is to sort a lot of these into bundles this evening. And yes, they are currently hanging out on my dryer 😊
Quilt blocks |

Here are the bundles I have ready to be assembled. Thanks are certainly due to my friend Michelle for coming over a few nights to help put these bundles together. I've been giving out bundles to people to put together, and I'm having a Sew Day at my church tomorrow afternoon, so there will soon be a lot more quilt tops to add to the pile waiting to be quilted.
Bundles of quilt blocks |

Binding anyone? Along with all of this ready-to-go binding, I also have stacks of fabric that can be made into binding.
Quilt binding |

So far I've also given out 6 tops, battings and bindings to people willing to do quilting and binding.
Blue quilt |
This fabulous blue quilt top and backing have been sent out for quilting.
It is so much fun to see these quilts come together! I hope you're having fun reading the updates, too 😊

May 08, 2017

Deceptive and Fleeting

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever heard someone read a passage and not bother pausing for the punctuation, so everything just ran together like one big, long sentence? Sometimes when that happens you can miss some of the nuances that are in what you are hearing because you're not hearing the proper pauses, which can certainly affect the meaning.

Consider this section of Proverbs 31:

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (vv. 28-31).

For ages I thought the husband was speaking about his wife from 'many women' to 'city gate.' It was as if the husband were saying to his wife "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all, so it's okay you're not charming and you've lost all your beauty." What?? What husband would say something like that to his wife? Especially as praise?! It wasn't until I finally read the verses for myself that I noticed the quotation marks that ended the husband's words after he tells his wife that she surpasses them all. Okay, then, that's much better!

Once I realized they weren't some husband's weird idea of a compliment, I found these couple of verses much more interesting 😊 I find it especially interesting that charm and beauty are set opposite "a woman who fears that Lord."

Charm is deceptive. I'm sure we've all known people who are so kind and sweet one minute and then completely nasty the next, as if someone flipped a switch. These people can pour on the charm thick as honey when it suits their needs, but it means absolutely nothing because it's just an act. They have decided, either consciously or not, that pretending to be kind and friendly is the best way to get ahead, but their true nature shows through when they think they can get away with it.

Beauty is fleeting. Oh, how true! Have you ever seen a decades-old picture of someone you have only known as a senior? How often do we say something like 'she was a real beauty in her day' or 'he was so handsome when he was young'?

I remember seeing a cartoon years ago that showed an older couple on the beach, both rather overweight, and a young 20-something walking past, gorgeous in her bikini. The older woman laments to her husband, "I'll never look like that again" to which the husband replies, "That's okay, dear. Neither will she." What a wise man!

But a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. It's not that a woman who fears the Lord can't be charming or beautiful, but rather that those things are not truly praise-worthy. Charm and beauty are only superficial. A fear of the Lord runs deep into our character and impacts everything of who we are.

Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. A person's fear of the Lord will flow out into their actions. A woman who fears the Lord will show it by all she does and those actions will inevitably be noticed by others. In Bible times, the city gates were where the elders of the town gathered to conduct important business, so this verse is saying that what is done by those who fear the Lord is worthy of praise even by those who are in authority. 
Weekly devotions on Christian living |

All of which should make us pause and think. When we come up in conversation, what good do people have to say about us? Is it only about superficial things, or are their words of praise for our actions, which flow from our love for God?

May 04, 2017

TGIFF - Mix it Up! in Make Modern

Welcome to TGIFF! I'm not sure how we're at the end of the first week of May already, but the calendar tells me that's where we are 😊

I'm excited to finally get to share my Mix it Up! mini quilt. It's in the latest issue of Make Modern magazine, which was just released today. They've also included a lovely profile of me in this issue, for which I am incredibly honoured.
Mix it up mini quilt |
I had fun turning the traditional orange peel block into a colour play wall quilt. I chose blue, yellow and green, but you could mix red and blue for purple, red and white for pink...there are so many possibilities!
Mix it up mini quilt |

This is my second quilt using black to create a faux border (the first one is my Love Birds quilt). I love how it frames the quilt. It could also be interesting to try the same idea with a different colour, so I don't think this is the last time you'll see the faux border.

I thought for days about how to quilt the solid grey background. I considered flow quilting, but had just finished a heavily-quilted project (which I still can't show you), so I wasn't really in the mood for that. I considered a swirl-hook design, but that just didn't feel right either...this went on and on and on. Finally, with the deadline approaching, I echo quilted around one set of orange peels and then sat staring at the machine for a moment, needing to just make the decision and Get. It. Done. Already! And that's when I thought of matchstick quilting and I'm so glad I did. I love how it looks! It adds interest while still allowing the orange peels to be the focus.
Mix it up mini quilt |
Isn't that texture fantastic? I don't think there's an actual straight line in the whole quilt, but they look straight from a distance, so that's all that matters 😉
Mix it up mini quilt |
Mix it Up! finishes at 36" square and is made with machine applique orange peels. It would be fun in prints or solids and there's lots of negative space for quilting, if you can decide what to fill it with!

Now I can't wait to see what you've finished lately 😊 Link it up and then don't forget to visit and comment on some of the other links. It's more fun when we all celebrate finishes together!

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