April 22, 2019

Good From the Bad

Devotion for the Week...

Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." It's a wonderful verse that always helps me remember that God is in control and that His purpose for my life will prevail. Not only for my life, but for your life and even for the world as a whole. He is in control.

Even so, there are plenty of situations that make me wonder how God could possibly use them to bring about something good. On the other hand, I've definitely heard about wonderful things coming from awful situations, like the story of a soldier Aiden told me recently: the soldier stepped on a landmine and lost both of his legs, which is awful. But in the course of his recovery he met a nurse and she eventually became his wife, which is wonderful.

While I was thinking about the different people in the Easter story these past few weeks, I kept coming back to this verse. There's Pilate, who ignored what he knew was right in order to keep the crowd happy, the chief priests, who were so worried about protecting their own position in society that they were willing to kill a man they knew was innocent, and Judas, who betrayed Jesus for his own gain. Their actions ranged from self-serving to downright evil, but God used those actions to bring about the greatest good in all of history.

I admit it's hard to wrap my mind around how God uses our sinful actions to bring about His plans, but that's exactly how He works. It's not that He's wanting us to sin, but He's not surprised by it, either. He knows that we will sin and He makes use of our sinful actions to further His own purposes for the world.

In the case of the Easter story, men were more than willing to sin to serve their own purposes. Little did they know they were also serving God's purposes at the same time.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
Of course, no one could have imagined what God could do with a man they worked so hard to kill. No one saw the resurrection coming. Let that give us hope when we're in the midst of bad situations and we can't see how God could ever use it to bring about anything good. We don't need to know how He's going to do it, we simply trust that He will.

April 15, 2019

Medallion Magic QAL - Part 4

It's time for the next installment of the Medallion Magic QAL! I love seeing my quilt grow now that we've started sewing 😊 If you haven't started yet, there's still time to join in and I'd love to see your Medallion Magic quilt, too.
Medallion Magic QAL - DevotedQuilter.com
I'm aiming for this to be a slow, relaxed quilt along, with not so much to do each month that you can't keep up. We're all too busy to be stressing over keeping up with a QAL! Here's the schedule of events:

January 15th - Gather fabrics and pattern
February 15th - Cutting
March 15th - Center star
April 15th - Borders 1 and 2 - today!
May 15th - Borders 3 and 4
June 15th - Borders 5, 6 and 7
August 15th - Finish party link up opens

If you don't have your pattern yet, you can pick up your copy from my Etsy shop in either PDF or printed versions.

I know that adding two (or even three) borders in one month sounds like a lot, but one of my favourite things about this medallion quilt design is that 4 of the 7 borders are just plain fabric, which gives the pieced borders room to breathe. I've always found most medallion quilts are so busy it's hard to focus on anything and I intentionally designed Medallion Magic to allow the pieced borders to shine.

Here's my original Medallion Magic, made in Northcott fabrics:
Medallion Magic quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
And here is how my new Island Batik version looks with borders 1 and 2 added. I love how bright and airy it feels with the light background!
Medallion Magic quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
These strip blocks come together quickly thanks to the magic of strip piecing 😊 Isn't it great when we can use simple strategies to make blocks that look like they took a long time to make?

I love the springtime feel of these greens and purples, all from the Paisley Park line, especially now that we're in the mud stage of spring here in Newfoundland. My tulips have started coming up, though, so I'm looking forward to seeing colours that are more exciting than brown sometime in the future.
Medallion Magic quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I've always loved pinwheel blocks and this double pinwheel is no exception. These corner blocks have quite a few small pieces, so an accurate ¼" seam allowance is really important.
Medallion Magic quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Andrea, of 3rd Story Workshop, recently shared a great explanation of how to check and fix your seam allowance so check that out if you're not sure about yours. I may still be trying to zero in on the perfect ¼" with my new Janome 6700 (which I keep meaning to write a post about, but it hasn't happened yet). I naively assumed that using the ¼" foot that came with the machine would give me a perfect seam allowance, but it was off by quite a bit. We won't talk about how many things I sewed before I realized that...We also won't talk about what a beginner level mistake that was. I should definitely have known better.

That's it for this month. I'm looking forward to seeing your first couple of borders!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Judas

Devotion for the Week...

Over the past two weeks, we've looked at Pilate and the chief priests and their parts in the Easter story. Today I want to look at Judas' betrayal of Jesus.

"Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus" (Matthew 26:14-16).

The Bible doesn't tell us anything about why Judas betrayed Him, though people have speculated that Judas was looking for a king who would overthrow the Romans, who had conquered Israel. When it became apparent that Jesus wasn't going to do that, Judas betrayed him. Whatever his reason, I think it's interesting to note that it was Judas who approached the chief priests, not them coming to ask him to betray Jesus. Judas took the initiative to get rid of Jesus and even to make a profit from doing it.

When the time came, Judas brought "a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs...sent by the leading priests and elders of the people" (v. 47) to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane and "had given them a prearranged signal: 'You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.' So Judas came straight to Jesus. 'Greetings, Rabbi!' he exclaimed and gave him the kiss" (vv.48,49).

The next morning, "When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 'I have sinned,' he declared, 'for I have betrayed an innocent man.'...Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself" (Matthew 27:3-5).

What I can't help but wonder is what did he think was going to happen? He hanged himself upon realizing that Jesus was going to die, so obviously that wasn't his intention, but what did he intend? Was he aiming to have Jesus discredited, so people would stop following Him? Did he hope Jesus would be arrested and put in prison? Did he never really think about what would happen to Jesus, instead only focusing on what he stood to gain by turning Jesus in to the chief priests? We don't know what he expected to have happen, but when he realized that Jesus was going to die, he was so crushed by his guilt that he committed suicide.

I remember once hearing someone lament that because he committed suicide, Judas never got to experience Jesus' forgiveness. It was the first time I ever thought about how Jesus would have reacted to meeting Judas again after His resurrection, had Judas still been alive. Can you picture Judas, trying to make himself invisible, so Jesus wouldn't notice him? Or maybe falling on his knees, apologizing over and over for all the pain his actions caused, cringing from the anger he expected? Never in a million years would he have expected the love and forgiveness we know Jesus would have given him.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
No matter how big our sins are, God's grace is always big enough to cover them. Even Judas' betrayal would have disappeared under the covering of His grace and love. That goes for all of our sins, too.

April 11, 2019

First Responder Quilts Delivered!

For anyone who doesn't know the story behind these quilts, they're the result of the generosity of hundreds of quilters who answered my call for blocks two years ago after a senior's home across the road from me burned down. All of the residents got out safely, but they lost everything, so I asked for help to make them quilts. Here's the original call for blocks, plus the quilts for the residents and the employees. And pictures of some of the residents with their quilts are here and here.

I am so excited to finally be able to say these quilts have all been delivered! On April 2 I took the first responder quilts to the fire hall to meet with the firefighters, paramedics and RCMP who could be there and give them their quilts. Here's the group shot with all three groups. I think I should have had a stool, lol! At 5'2" I've never thought of myself as tall, but I look ridiculously short in this picture 😏
One person didn't want his face shared publicly, which is why he's covered.
And here are the individual groups. First, the RCMP. One member has moved away since the fire, so his quilt will be mailed to him.
The paramedics. The two on the ends were working and arrived just in time to receive their quilts and be part of this picture, but they weren't in the big group picture above.
And here are the firefighters. Quite a few weren't able to make it that night, but I left their quilts with the fire chief and he'll give them out. Also, you might notice that two of the guys in the paramedics picture are also here in the firefighters picture. Our firefighters are all volunteers, with regular jobs as well and two of them serve the community as both firefighters and paramedics.
And now on to the quilts! There are 31, so be prepared for quilt overload, lol. Just a couple of notes first - I would have loved beautiful, outdoor pictures of these, but the weather and work schedules wouldn't cooperate, plus with 31 quilts it was pretty much just a matter of Zach and Michelle holding them up and me snapping the pictures quickly. And second, any quilts that look different or that are perfectly coordinated rather than scrappy were donated as either whole tops or even as finished quilts.

I'd love to know if you spot a block you made!
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilts for first responders | DevotedQuilter.com
Two years ago, I wanted to make 21 quilts for the residents. Because of the incredible generosity and support of this amazing community, we made 21 for the residents, 10 for the employees, 31 for the first responders and we sent another 21 quilt tops to help make quilts for people affected by hurricane Harvey. That's a total of 83 quilts/quilt tops! I've said it before, but it bears repeating - quilters are wonderful people!

I still have some backing fabric and binding left over, plus a small bag of blocks. All of that will be passed on to another quilter here in town who does a lot of charity sewing, especially for our province's children's hospital. I feel like that's the best way to honour the intent with which it was given to me.

I can never thank you enough for jumping in with such enthusiasm and helping me to bless so many people in my community 😊

I'm linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Beauties Pageant

April 08, 2019

The Chief Priests

Devotion for the Week...

Last week I wrote about Pilate's role in the story of Jesus' crucifixion. Ever since, I've been thinking about the chief priests and the leaders of religious law and the role they played. They didn't like Jesus because they saw Him as a threat to their position and privilege in society. Though they said they arrested Him because of blasphemy, really it was because they believed they'd lose their status if they didn't remove Him from the picture. Without a doubt, they are the bad guys of the story.

Just look at Matthew's account of their actions shortly after Jesus was arrested: "the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death" (Matthew 26:59). Isn't that shocking? They were knowingly searching for people who were willing to tell lies, specifically so they could kill a man they knew was innocent!

Then, when Jesus was before Pilate, "the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death." (Matthew 27:20). Now, this one has never made any sense to me. The custom at the time was for the governor to release a prisoner each year, anyone the people wanted, and the priests were able to convince the crowd to demand the release of "Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising" (Mark, 15:6). Why would they ask for him? I mean, I get that they didn't want Jesus released, but why would they choose a murderer? Surely there was some other prisoner they could have asked to have released. Or maybe it was a statement about Jesus and how much they didn't want to see Him go free. They would rather see a known murderer released than this man who threatened them.

Whatever their reasoning, the priests convinced the crowd to demand Barabbas be set free and Jesus be crucified and they got what they wanted. Pilate gave in to the demands of the crowd stirred up by the priests.

Here's what has been going over in my mind this past week. It's so easy to sit in judgement of the priests, to vilify them and to sit on our high horses, certain that we would never act the way they did. On a certain level, we wouldn't, of course. I hope we would never purposely set out to have someone put to death because they could affect our comfortable lives. I hope we would never incite other people to lie to protect our way of life. And I hope we would never be so selfish that we would consider our comfort more important than another person's life.

But, here's the thing, any animal, when threatened, will lash out and attack and that is exactly what the priests did. Their way of life was threatened by this man and so they lashed out to protect themselves against Him. Their methods were reprehensible and extreme, but at the very core of it, they were reacting to what they perceived as a threat. How would we have reacted if we were in their place?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
How would we react if our jobs were threatened? If our way of life was threatened? If our beliefs were threatened? Our reactions might not be as extreme as theirs were, but I can see us reacting with anger. There would be plenty of verbal attacks, both in person and online, against whoever was causing the threat. Church history, in fact, is full of awful stories of how religious people reacted to those who threatened them, whether the threat came from Christians who believed a little bit differently, from another religion altogether or from a secular source like scientific discoveries.

The chief priests are the bad guys of the Easter story, no doubt, but they are also an extreme example of what we could all be if threatened.
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