February 28, 2022

Family Culture

Christian parents all want their children to become adults who serve God, but it's not something we can make them do. They have to make that choice for themselves, just like we did.  

Joshua was leading the Israelites. He wanted them to serve God, too, but he couldn't make them do it, either. Instead, he challenged them to serve God rather than the gods the nations around them were serving. He told them to choose who they would serve, then ended by saying, “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).

Joshua couldn’t force his family to serve God any more than we can. He could maybe demand outward obedience, but he couldn’t make his family love God. He could make serving God a foundational part of their family life, though, which would have a profound impact on them.

This verse always makes me think of a little story I read years ago, of a conversation between a mother and a teenage daughter who didn’t share her mother’s taste in music.

Daughter: “Mom, how did you come to enjoy listening to show tunes?”

Mom: “My mother listened to them all the time when I was growing up.”

Daughter: “That’s what I was afraid you’d say.”
We have the opportunity to show others a life where serving God is the norm | DevotedQuilter.com

The music we listen to, the foods we eat and our enjoyment of activities like hiking (or snowshoeing!) and reading are often influenced by the environment we grew up in. I've referred to it before as the family culture, for lack of a better term. We have the opportunity to use that influence or family culture to steer those who enter our homes in the direction of God, whether that’s by the music playing in the background, the artwork on our walls or the conversations around the table. This applies not only to children or grandchildren, but also to friends and family members who visit.

No, we can’t make others believe, but we can show them a life in which serving God is the norm and then pray that lifestyle takes root in their hearts, too.

February 21, 2022

East to West

As you probably already know, I live on Canada’s east coast. The most easterly point in Canada (and North America, actually) is Cape Spear, here in Newfoundland. The most westerly point in Canada is the Yukon/Alaska border, which is 5,514 km (3,426 miles) away from Cape Spear. That’s far away! That distance is what I picture when I read Psalm 103-10-12:

“He does not punish us for all our sins;
    he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.”

When we believe in Jesus, God doesn’t just cover up our sins, hoping no one will notice them under a veneer of goodness. Instead, ‘He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.’ Those sins are completely gone – far, far away from us.

There will often still be consequences of those sins that we have to deal with, whatever they might be, but there is nothing on our permanent record with God, so to speak.

I see that as meaning two things for us. First, it means God isn’t keeping a record of past sins, just waiting to punish us for them sometime in the future. They’re gone, never to be brought up again. No matter how bad the sins were, God removes them completely and throws them far away. Because of Jesus, we can trust that we are free from the fear of divine judgement.
Because of Jesus, we can trust that we are free from the fear of divine judgement | DevotedQuilter.com
Second, if those sins have been so far removed from us, we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up about them, either. We have a bad habit of clinging to the shame and guilt of our past sins, even though God has taken those sins away. If we have trusted in Jesus, then we can let go of shame over our sins. They’re gone - as far away as the east is from the west!

February 15, 2022

Add Grace Quilt Top and Registration is Open!

I am so excited to say that registration is now open for the Add Grace quilt along and devotional journey!! We'll be focusing on the wonder of grace through 40 daily devotions sent directly to your inbox, beginning on March 2, while also making an Add Grace quilt together. Quilting and time with God - what a wonderful way to prepare to celebrate Easter!

A QAL and devotions? I'm in!

I finished my first Add Grace quilt top and I so love how it looks! Even though it looks the same as the EQ8 image on my computer, somehow it also looks different when I get to see it at full size. It's going to be hard to wait until the start of the QAL to start my second version, lol.
Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I made this version with prints from the Pietra and Spectrastic fabric lines, both designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo (AKA Giucy Giuce) for Andover, with Century Solid Cottonball for the background. I can't decide if I prefer the speckles of Spectrastic or the marbled look of Pietra - they're both beautiful and make the perfect blender fabrics.
Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Add Grace finishes at 72" square and it's mostly traditional piecing, with a bit of foundation piecing. If you're new to foundation piecing, don't let that intimidate you! It's only one of the blocks, with just a few seams, so it's definitely doable even for newbies. Plus, the QAL will include a video showing how I use freezer paper for foundation piecing - no more ripping out the paper when you finish making your blocks!

I love when points come together nicely!
Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I know that sometimes it's just not possible to add another QAL to your schedule, no matter how tempting it is. If that's the case for you right now, but you still want to focus on grace as we approach Easter, I've got you covered! This year, for the first time, you can register for just the devotions. You'll receive the same 40 daily devotions focusing on grace, but without the Add Grace pattern.

I can't do the QAL, but I want the daily devotions!

Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

I hope you'll join me for Add Grace! I'd love to share this quilt and devotional journey with you 😊 Here are those registration links again:

February 14, 2022

What's That in Your Eye?

I’m always amused when one of the kids I babysit tells another one not to do something, especially when they usually do that same thing themselves. It’s like they can see that the other kid isn’t supposed to snatch a toy, or stand on a toy truck or whatever it is, but when they want to do it they’re oblivious to the fact that it’s not allowed. Unfortunately, we adults aren’t immune to that obliviousness, either. Somehow it’s really easy to see when another person is doing something they shouldn’t or has a character trait that needs some work, but almost impossible to see when we are doing the same thing or have that same unpleasant trait.

Jesus said, “Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

It’s kind of funny to imagine a person with a 2x4 sticking out of their eye as they attempt to help a friend with a speck of dust in their eye, isn’t it? Jesus probably made it so exaggerated on purpose, so it would really make His point. We can’t help others with their sins if we’re not willing to deal with our own first.
We can’t help  others with their  sins if we’re  not willing to deal  with our own first | DevotedQuilter.com
I love that Jesus ends by telling us to remove the log in our own eye, which will then enable us to help others. I can’t get rid of my sin through my own power, but when I trust in Jesus I am cleansed of my sin. Then I can help others to find their way to Him, too, so the speck of dust in their eye can be removed.

February 07, 2022

Owning Up To It

Devotion for the Week...

It doesn't matter which political leader or celebrity has been accused of sexual misconduct, they all deny it. We see them on the news all the time, claiming that the women are lying or that they're remembering wrong. Nothing inappropriate happened, the men insist. They have to deny the allegations, of course, in an attempt to save their reputations and careers, but it's wearying all the same.

King David took a different approach. Yes, there was sexual misconduct when he had Bathsheba brought to him even though he knew she was someone else's wife. Not to mention the fact she probably couldn't refuse him, seeing as he was king. And yes, after Bathsheba became pregnant, David arranged to have her husband sent into the worst of the battle so he would be killed. Obviously sexual scandal is not only a modern-era problem. 

David's conduct was inexcusable, no question about it. He probably figured he had gotten away with it, until God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him. Nathan came and told him a story about a poor man who owned one lamb and a rich man who had whole flocks and herds of animals, but when a guest arrived he stole the poor man's lamb to serve at dinner (2 Samuel 12:1-4). "David was furious. 'As surely as the Lord lives,' he vowed, 'any man who would do such a thing deserves to die'" (v. 5).

I imagine at this point Nathan was shaking, knowing he had to confront the king, but he spoke the truth anyway. "You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife" (vv. 7-9).

David probably could have ordered Nathan killed. He was king, after all, and he had already arranged for Uriah to die. He could certainly have argued with Nathan and insisted he did nothing wrong and that Nathan was lying. He didn't. Instead, he simply said, "I have sinned against the Lord" (v. 13).

Did this happen in the throne room, where there would have been dozens of witnesses, or was it in a private room, with just the two of them? The Bible doesn't give us those details, so we don't know if David confessed only to Nathan or if it was to a crowd of people. We do know he didn't try to bury the truth after his confession. Psalm 51 bears the heading, "For the choir director: A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba." It is a psalm of deep, sincere repentance that David wrote and then shared with the whole world.

It's refreshing to see a leader who owned his mistakes. Understand, I'm not excusing what David did to Bathsheba and Uriah, but I do admire his honesty in admitting the truth. Can you imagine any celebrity or political leader today doing the same?
Can we own up to our sins, as David did? | DevotedQuilter.com
On a more personal note, can we do the same? Our wrongs may not be the same as David's, but that doesn't mean we've never done anything wrong. Do we attempt to cover it up or do we own up to our sins?

February 01, 2022

Add Grace QAL Design Reveal

I have been anxiously waiting for today to arrive so I could finally share the design for the Add Grace quilt along. So without further ado, let me introduce Add Grace 😊
Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Here is what it looks like with a navy background.
Add Grace quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Add Grace finishes at 72" square, making it a great lap quilt. It's even big enough to share, if you're so inclined! I love designing medallion quilts with lots of negative space so each of the blocks can shine. As a bonus, all that negative space means you can piece the whole top faster. Add Grace is mostly traditional piecing, with only a bit of foundation piecing. 

Registration for the Add Grace QAL and devotional journey will open on February 15th. If you want to be notified when registration opens, you can put your name on the waitlist. This year there will be two options for registering. You can register for the quilt along and the daily devotions or, if you just can't fit another QAL into your schedule, you can choose to register only for the daily devotions. With either option, we'll spend 40 days focusing on grace together as we prepare to celebrate Easter, beginning on March 2nd.

I had a box of fabric arrive from Andover last week with the fabric for my two versions of Add Grace.
Andover fabrics for the Add Grace quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The prints are from the Pietra and Spectrastic lines, both designed by Giuseppe Ribaudo (AKA Giucy Giuce) and they're such fabulous blenders.
Andover fabrics for the Add Grace quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
And the Century Solids are so pretty, too!
Andover fabrics for the Add Grace quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I couldn't decide which to make first! I put a poll in an IG story and the majority thought I should start with the prints, so that's the one I started. I'm planning to have at least the top of this version finished in time for registration to open. Here's my first block all finished. I sure do love seeing a quilt move from a picture on my computer to finished blocks in my hand!
Add Grace quilt plus block | DevotedQuilter.com
I hope you'll join me for the Add Grace QAL and devotional journey!
Add Grace quilt along | DevotedQuilter.com