October 21, 2013

Quality Materials

Devotion for the Week...

The mottled green/yellow fabric I'm using for the sashing in my Scrappy Log Cabin quilt is from Northcott's Stonhenge line. I absolutely love the Stonehenge fabrics. Even if I hadn't recognized this fabric in store, just touching it would have told me it came from a quality manufacturer. Northcott's slogan is 'Cottons that feel like silk' and their fabrics truly do feel more luxurious than cheap fabrics do.

Quality materials make a big difference when you're quilting. I once taught a quilting class for beginning quilters, some of whom had never threaded a machine before. One of the women came excited to make her first quilt out of fabrics from her recently deceased mother's leftover fabrics. Unfortunately, her mother had used mostly broadcloth in whatever projects she had sewn. As my beginning quilter sewed her first strips together she veered off-course and had to rip out the seam. The broadcloth frayed so much as she took out the stitches that she could just barely sew the strips back together.

Another of the women in the class kept having problems with her machine. It would suddenly jam up, creating a bird's nest of thread on the back, or the thread would just snap mid-seam. She found it extremely frustrating, to say the least. The next class she came with new, better quality thread and had no problems whatsoever.

What materials are we using to build our lives? I don't mean the foods we eat or the things we buy - the materials that build our physical lives. I mean the things that build who we are, our character and our relationships with God and people.

In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus tells us clearly what we should be using to build our lives.  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27).

'These words of mine.' We should be using Jesus' teachings, and all of God's word, to build our lives.

James 1: 22-25 - "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do." We shouldn't listen to a sermon or read a chapter in our Bibles and then walk away, living just as we did before. We should take the time to think about what we heard or read and how it applies to our lives. Then we should do whatever we need to do to make our lives line up with what we have learned.

Psalm 119:11- "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Memorizing verses is a great practice, but I have to confess I have trouble sticking to any plan (other than helping the boys memorize their verses for their mid-week church program!). I find, though, that reading the Bible often makes things stick in my mind, especially when I study what I read and pause to think about verses that capture my attention. Lots of time it's only a vague sense of 'I know the Bible says something like ________,' but I can then go looks up the exact wording. At least it's a start!

Psalm 119:105 - "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Understanding God's word makes it easier to discern the right choice in many situations and will help us avoid a lot of bumps in the road if we follow His directions.

Living according to God's word isn't possible if we're trying to do it all on our own. That's why God has given us the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). If we learn God's word and allow the Holy Spirit to help us live according to it, then our lives will be full of "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).

When I feel quality fabric or work with quality thread, I can notice a difference. When we live according to God's word, the people around us should see a difference as well. 

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