January 30, 2023

Who He Says I Am

Devotion for the Week...

The past few days, I've had the song Who You Say I Am, by Hillsong Worship, going through my head. Mostly it has been just this one line, which is repeated often in the song: "I am who you say I am." I'll be sewing or walking or whatever and realize that line has been on repeat for a while, kind of like it was just running in the background. There are some songs that bug me when they get stuck in my head like that, especially if it's only one line on repeat, but this one doesn't bother me at all. It's a comfort and a reassurance, to be constantly reminded that He is the one who defines me, not my insecurities or other people.

This is true for all of us. We are who He says we are, not who we think we are, not who the world says we are, not who a disapproving parent or ex or friend says we are. God alone has the final word on our identity and our worth.

1 Peter 2:9 says, "you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession." Do you see what incredible value God places on us?

We are a chosen people. 

God chose to redeem us. He chose to have relationship with us. Why? Because He loves us! "See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!" (1 John3:1). 

We are royal priests.

The royal part is pretty easy to understand: we are children of the Most High, which makes us heirs with Jesus. "And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory" (Romans 8:17). 

The priest part is a little less obvious. The priests in the Old Testament were the ones who had access to God, the ones who mediated between the people and God through the offering of sacrifices. Now, because of our belief in Jesus, we have access to God without needing to go through someone else and we are able to offer sacrifices of prayers and praise ourselves. "And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God" (1 Peter 2:5).

We are a holy nation.

It doesn't matter where we were born or where we live now, we are part of God's kingdom. "For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins" (Colossians 1:13-14).
We are who God says we are | DevotedQuilter.com

We are God's very own possession.

We are treasured by God. "God bought you with a high price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). That high price was Jesus' death on the cross, which He willingly paid for our salvation because He thinks we're worth the price

Whenever we find ourselves thinking we're not good enough or we're not _____ enough, it would be helpful to remember we are who He says we are.

January 26, 2023

Women of Wisdom QAL and Devotional Journey

It's time for my third annual QAL and devotional journey leading up to Easter! Registration is now open for Women of Wisdom!
Women of Wisdom QAL and devotional journey | DevotedQuilter.com
Would you like to preparing for Easter by learning about the wisdom of biblical women, while also making a beautiful quilt together? That's exactly what we'll be doing in this 40 day QAL and devotional journey!

Register now Women of Wisdom

The devotional journey consists of 40 daily devotions sent directly to your inbox, beginning on February 22 (that's Ash Wednesday) and continuing until the day before Easter Sunday. The devotions focus on the stories of women in the Bible, some well known and some lesser known. We'll learn from their wise responses to life's twists and turns, or in some cases, from their very unwise responses. 

While we grow in wisdom through the daily devotions, we'll also be stitching up a new quilt! It's a generous throw size and it's confident beginner friendly, machine pieced with a bit of paper piecing. Here's my test version, made with Northcott solids. That deep purple background really makes those bright colours pop!
Women of Wisdom QAL and devotional journey | DevotedQuilter.com
It was such a struggle to get that picture! First, the snow is deep, but with a crust of ice on the top. So we could walk on it, but every now and then we'd suddenly sink to our knees! Then it was just a little bit breezy. If I'd had a finished quilt, it would have been no problem, but the quilt top is so light that it just wouldn't hang straight. After trying, and failing, for a while to get something decent, Paul went into his workshop and found a piece of wood moulding long enough to cover the width of the quilt. We taped that to the bottom and voila! The quilt stopped blowing all over!

Once you register, you'll receive an email with the Fabric Requirements PDF so you'll have plenty of time to shop your stash or visit your favourite LQS or online shop before our February 22 start. The PDF also includes a colouring sheet to help you plan your colour placement. I can't wait to see what fabrics you choose for your quilt!
Women of Wisdom QAL and devotional journey | DevotedQuilter.com
What if you just don't have the bandwidth for another QAL right now, but you'd still like to prepare for Easter by focusing on biblical wisdom? Don't worry, I've got you covered 😊 You can choose to register for the devotional journey on its own, without the quilt pattern included, and the daily devotions will arrive in your inbox starting on February 22.
Women of Wisdom QAL and devotional journey | DevotedQuilter.com
If you'd like to grow in wisdom while making a dazzling new quilt, register today for the Women of Wisdom QAL and devotional journey!

I'm linking with TGIFF, NTT, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, Finished (or not) Friday and Beauties Pageant.

January 23, 2023


Welcome to my stop on the Villa Rose blog hop! Today I'm sharing my version of the S'Witched quilt, which was so much fun to make. There are giveaways happening as part of the blog hop, so be sure to read right to the end of the post and visit the other bloggers to see their quilts and enter their giveaways, too. Who doesn't love prizes?

Before I share my quilt, I have a couple of other quick things to share 😊 First, on Thursday, registration will be opening for my third annual QAL and devotional journey leading up to Easter. This year it's called Women of Wisdom and the 40 daily devotions will help us glean wisdom from the stories of women in the Bible. Wouldn't it be great to have more wisdom? Edited to say, registration is now open! You can register here.

And second, if you're wanting to get your scrap situation under control, download my free PDF guide, Escape Scrap Overwhelm. It'll help you get those scraps sorted and stored in a way that makes sense for the kinds of quilts you like to make. Just imagine the beautiful scrap quilts you can make when your scraps are easy to use!

Okay, on to my S'Witched quilt! 
S'Witched quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The Villa Rose blog hop is highlighting 5 Fast & Fun patterns. The whole pattern for each quilt fits on one side of a postcard, so you know there's nothing complicated about them 😊 You can get the bundle of patterns here.

S'Witched uses 10" squares. I don't usually buy pre-cuts, so I dug into my stash to find pinks, purples and yellows to cut my own squares. I was surprised to find how many of my stash fabrics were not quite 10" wide, so it took a little while to find enough fabrics that were the right size and worked well together. I got there in the end, though! Once everything was cut, the top came together quickly.

At 54" wide, it's a little narrower than the throws I usually make, which meant it fit perfectly onto one of the batting off-cuts I had. It's one of the pieces of batting I always pull out because I think it's going to be wide enough, only to find out it's just a little too narrow, so it felt great to finally use it up! Of course, I could probably save myself that trouble if I measured my batting scraps and stuck a note to each one saying its size, but I've never gotten around to that.

I very rarely piece my backings, other than a seam to make yardage wide enough, but I convinced myself to piece the back this time. I'm not sure how making a back with so few seams feels like way more work than piecing the front, but it does. And yes, Nathan was holding it upside down - you can see the label on the top corner 😆
pieced quilt back | DevotedQuilter.com
Since some of the fabrics on the front had hearts, a meander with scattered hearts seemed like the perfect quilting design. I chose Aurifil 2560 (Iris) for the quilting. It really shows on some fabrics, especially the solids...
free motion quilted hearts | DevotedQuilter.com
and blends in on others.
free motion quilted hearts | DevotedQuilter.com
I tried to quilt it fairly large, which meant it went just as quickly as piecing the front. A few small hearts snuck in, though! They always do!

A solid pink binding finishes it off nicely.
pink quilt binding | DevotedQuilter.com
I mentioned giveaways, didn't I? Before we get to them, though, here are the rest of the participants in the blog hop. Be sure to visit them to see their beautiful quilts and enter their giveaways, too!

And now, the prizes! Two winners from my blog will win a set of the 5 Villa Rose Fast & Fun pattern cards. Three more winners will win a surprise from the blog hop sponsors. And another two names will be entered to win one of two grand prize boxes. That's a lot of prizes, I know. 

The giveaway will close at 11:59 on January 29th and prizes will be shipped in February. International entries are welcome and winners outside the US will win a digital pattern card collection.

To enter, just leave me a comment and tell me what your fabric scrap situation is like. And remember to download the Escape Scrap Overwhelm PDF if you want to get your scraps organized and easy to use 😊

A Created Thing

Devotion for the Week...

I'm knee deep in preparations to open registration for the Women of Wisdom QAL later this week, so I dug into the devotions archive for today's devotion. This one was originally posted in 2016 😊 At the time, Nathan was 8 and Aiden was 14.

Nathan was drawing recently and said to me, "It won't be perfect," to which I replied "None of my quilts are perfect, but they're still good." Aiden, who was also in the room, laughed, thinking I was being rather proud, but I explained that there's nothing wrong with being confident enough in our own abilities to recognize that we do a good job at something.

However, my confidence in my abilities aside, I am well aware of two things: my quilts are not perfect and, in the end, they are only quilts. They have no power to change anything or improve my life other than by being pretty and cuddly. As much as I love my quilts, they are in no way worthy of worship.

The prophet Isaiah wrote a whole section in which he marvels at those who make things so they will have something to worship.

"The blacksmith takes a tool
    and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
    he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
    he drinks no water and grows faint.
The carpenter measures with a line
    and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
    and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
    human form in all its glory,
    that it may dwell in a shrine...
Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
    he cannot save himself, or say,
    “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”   (Isaiah 44:12-13,20)

It seems rather laughable, doesn't it, that a person would make something with their own two hands and then claim that the thing they made is a god? I doubt that many in this day and age are tempted to worship things created from a block of wood, or a chunk of metal, or even a few yards of gorgeous fabric.

Sometimes, though, we are just as deluded as those idol-making craftsmen of old. While we may not physically bow down to anything, we are often tempted to worship things that are not worthy of our worship.

Dictionary.com defines worship as "reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred." 'Any object regarded as sacred' could mean anything. There are those who view their work as sacred, while others feel that way about their hobbies, or sports, or their children. Still others worship popularity and public opinion. Many, of course, worship money and the accumulation of wealth.

All of these things we are tempted to worship have one thing in common - they have been created by people. People, sinful and imperfect as we are, cannot create anything worthy of worship! We may laugh at the craftsman who would make, and then believe in, his own god, but we need to be aware of our own attitudes towards the things of this world. It is very easy for things to become the focus of our worship without us being aware of it, so we must constantly and consciously return our hearts to God.
Only God is worthy of our worship | DevotedQuilter.com
We were created by God for relationship with Him, but if we choose not to focus on Him as the object of our worship then something else will fill that void. However, only God is worthy of our worship. If we worship anything else, we are led by deluded hearts and feeding on nothing but ashes and lies, as Isaiah put it (v. 20).

January 16, 2023

He Didn't Listen

Devotion for the Week...

Last week I wrote about the importance of listening to wisdom. Sometimes that wisdom comes through our regular Bible reading, sometimes through other people who have learned lessons they pass on to us and sometimes through the teachings of experts such as doctors or financial advisors. We always have the choice to listen to the wisdom presented to us, or to reject it.

Jeremiah the prophet had a lot of experience with people not listening to his wisdom. His wisdom was actually direct messages from God, and started with the words "This is what the Lord says," but people still didn't listen to him! Jeremiah spent years telling the people to abandon their sinfulness and turn back to God, but the people ignored him. He warned them of the consequences that would come, including invasion by the Babylonians, but they continued on as they were, preferring to believe the false priests who told them everything was fine. And then the Babylonians came.

"One day King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah and had him brought to the third entrance of the Lord’s Temple. 'I want to ask you something,' the king said. 'And don’t try to hide the truth'" (Jeremiah 38:14). I'm not sure why Zedekiah felt the need to remind Jeremiah not to hide the truth, since Jeremiah had been telling him the truth all along. Maybe the king was just accustomed to other people only telling him what they thought he wanted to hear, or maybe he hoped his words would cause Jeremiah to give him a different answer this time.

Jeremiah told him the truth, as always, passing on the message God had given him for Zedekiah: "This is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you surrender to the Babylonian officers, you and your family will live, and the city will not be burned down. But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground" (vv. 17-18).

But Zedekiah was afraid to surrender to the Babylonians (v. 19). Even with Jeremiah's repeated insistence that "Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you" (v. 20) and an explanation of what would happen to his family if he didn't surrender (vv. 21-23), when the Babylonians broke into the city, Zedekiah and his officials ran. The results were every bit as bad as Jeremiah predicted: death for many people, including Zedekiah's sons, Zedekiah himself was blinded, and the city was burned (Jeremiah 39:5-8).

Can you imagine what Jeremiah felt when he heard the news? I picture him crying and thinking, "But I told you this would happen. Why didn't you listen to me?" It doesn't take much imagination to think he'd be crying and lamenting the fate of his city, since he wrote an entire book expressing his sorrow. In Lamentations 1:16 he wrote, "For all these things I weep; tears flow down my cheeks. No one is here to comfort me; any who might encourage me are far away."

When we're the ones with wisdom to share, we really want people to listen to us. The more dire the consequences of not listening, the more we want them to take our wisdom to heart. Unfortunately, we can't make people listen. We can't make them do the wise thing, no matter how desperately we want them to. We can repeat ourselves over and over. We can appeal to their sense of self-preservation. We can get really specific about what will happen if they ignore our warnings. But through it all, we can't make them do what we think they should.
We can't make people do what we think they should | DevotedQuilter.com
When the thing we've been warning about happens, it's tempting to blame ourselves and think we should have done more, but that's not the case. If we've given warnings, then we've done what we can. Even Jeremiah, who had his message given directly to him from God, even he couldn't make Zedekiah listen to him.

We may lament, as Jeremiah did, but we have no reason to blame ourselves when others choose not to listen to our warnings.

January 14, 2023

Illusion in Make Modern

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link, at no extra cost to you.

This week Make Modern is celebrating the release of their 50th issue and I'm honoured to have my Illusion quilt included in it. You can get a copy of issue 50 here or you can subscribe here and get access to the issue right away as part of your subscription.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Illusion was hard to name! I love the illusion of overlapping squares in the middle, though, so that's what finally inspired the name.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Illusion uses only 3 fabrics. I chose two shades of purple Colorworks solids from Northcott along with their Toscana print in Picket Fence for the background. I love the simplicity of the limited colour palette.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I love the simplicity of the design, too. It's a medallion quilt with a lot of negative space, which is the same concept I used for my Medallion Magic pattern. Also like with Medallion Magic, I made Illusion a rectangular quilt by adding the last borders only to the top and bottom of the design.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
When I was asking for name suggestions, quite a few people commented on how these shapes reminded them of Pac-Man. I hadn't even noticed that, but they're right! It wasn't what I wanted for a name, but it did make me smile every time someone mentioned it.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
If you're wanting to learn to sew curves in 2023, join me for a virtual Conquering Curves workshop on January 21st to learn all my tips and tricks for successfully sewing curved seams! We'll be using my Noodles pattern, included free with your registration, and everything you learn will apply to any curved seam, like these ones. Register for the workshop here!

As always, I used Warm and Natural batting inside and quilted it with Aurifil 50 wt thread. These flowers in the little squares were super easy. I stitched around the edge of the square, then across both diagonals, then quilted continuous curves to create the flower petals. With just a bit of travel stitching (along one side to get to the start of the second diagonal line), I was able to do all of that quilting without breaking the thread.
Continuous curve flower free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.com
There are wishbones in the arrow blocks and plumes in the drunkard's path blocks. My favourite part of the quilting, though, is the loopy meander in the background. It makes me think of old-fashioned eyelet fabric!
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Apparently I didn't take a picture of the whole back of the quilt and we're in the middle of a snowstorm right now, so we'll have to make do with this partial-back picture.
I chose the darker purple solid for the binding, to give the quilt a nice frame.
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
And, of course, added my label. I've been using this roll of 1,000 labels since 2015 and you can still hardly tell there are any gone! I'll have labels for years yet.
quilt label | DevotedQuilter.com
If I counted correctly, this is my 19th quilt in Make Modern! To say I'm a fan of the magazine would be an understatement. Click here to buy a copy of issue 50, or here to subscribe!
Illusion quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

January 12, 2023

TGIFF - Marbles

Welcome to another Newfoundland TGIFF party! I've finally taken pictures of my Marbles baby quilt, which I finished back in November during WIPS-B-GONE, so now I can share it.
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
This one is a great scrap buster! Not that my scrap bins are anywhere near empty, of course, but I did use a lot of scraps to make this fun quilt.
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Are the scrap bins ever empty? I don't even think that's possible! If you're overwhelmed by scraps, I have a free PDF guide to help you! It's called Escape Scrap Overwhelm and it's full of tips to help you get those scraps sorted in a way that will actually help you use them for the kinds of quilts you love to make. You can download the guide here to get started.

In July 2021 I wrote a tutorial for making the Marbles blocks. I made a bunch of the crumb-pieced panels that summer and added the corners to a couple of blocks. Then they just sat and sat and sat. I intended to work on them during the first WIPS-B-GONE challenge, but that never happened. I finally got them all finished during the 2022 challenge. The quilt would have been a bit too small to be a good baby quilt, with just the 16 blocks, so I decided to add borders.

First I added a 1" finished black solid border. Then I pieced some of my abundant 1 1/2" squares to make a second border. I have a whole bag full of 1 1/2" squares still, but after piecing these borders, it's mostly dark or neutral squares, so I need to cut some more fun, bright colours to add to the bag.
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I then added another 3 1/2" black solid border. I like the way the plain borders frame the scrappy square border and all of the borders together make the perfect frame for the Marbles blocks. With the borders, the quilt now measures 41" square - just right for a baby quilt!

I quilted swirl hooks in each of the Marbles, using Aurifil 50 wt in a colour to match. It made for a pretty thread rainbow!
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
That swirl hook rainbow looks great on the black solid backing, too!
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The black background got simple stippling in black thread. There are quite a few places where I lost track of where I had already stitched because, even with the abundant lighting I have in my sewing room, black thread on black fabric is just plain hard to see. Good thing quilting doesn't have to be perfect!
Marbles scrap quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I quilted continuous curves in the scrappy square border. It really was continuous - I quilted the whole border in one line, without needing to break thread. Normally I would use Aurifil 2600 for a colourful space like this, but I'm out, so I used 1135 instead and the bright yellow worked really well. 
continuous curves free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.com
When we were out of town for Nathan's cross country provincials in October, I visited a new-to-me quilt shop and picked up this fabulous, colourful fabric for the binding. It feels like the perfect fun binding for such a colourful quilt. Plus, it makes me want a cupcake with sprinkles! 
Marbles quilt binding | DevotedQuilter.com
Now it's your turn! What have you finished recently? Or finished a little while ago, but finally got around to blogging? Link it up below so we can celebrate with you. And be sure to visit some of the other links to celebrate their finishes, too.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

January 09, 2023

Listening to the Warnings

Devotion for the Week...

Over my 20 years of looking after toddlers and preschoolers (my own and other people's), I wouldn't even be able to count the number of times I have warned, "Stop spinning (running in the house, dancing on that chair, walking on those blocks, etc) or you're going to get hurt." Another frequent warning is, "Watch where you're going! The walls (fridge, cupboards, table, etc) are not going to move out of your way." Often the kids don't listen and before long I have to console someone who has fallen or hit the corner of the wall or otherwise managed to hurt themselves. When this happens, I always point out that "This is why I told you not to _____." Eventually, I hope, they will realize that I do know what I'm talking about, so they should listen to my warnings. It's a slow process, especially because all the things I'm telling them not to do are fun, until of course they get so dizzy they smack into the fridge.

Those many warnings are what I thought of this week when I read the words of Wisdom personified in Proverbs. As part of her first speech, Wisdom says, "They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes" (Proverbs 1:30-31). Essentially, when we reap the results of not listening to her, Wisdom will say "This is why I told you not to_____."

Obviously Wisdom is not an actual person who will say anything when bad things happen to us. She's also not able to correct us or give us warnings. But just because there isn't a real person named Wisdom doesn't diminish the availability of warnings. Sometimes warnings will be written out in the Bible, in plain words, "You must not steal" (Exodus 20: 15), other warnings will come through the Holy Spirit, giving us a sense that something we're doing is not a good idea. Other times the warnings will come through friends or family who have suffered because of their own actions and tell us their stories so we don't have to learn those lessons the hard way. Still other warnings will be disguised as common sense, like staying out of debt or making sure we get enough exercise.

No matter where the warnings come from, it is always our choice whether or not to heed them. We can choose to eat nothing but junk food and never exercise. We can choose to put everything on credit cards and never pay more than the minimum required payment. We can choose to lie to our spouse or on our tax returns. 

What's more, doing those things could be appealing. Junk food tastes good. Exercise is hard. Living within our means is hard. Telling the truth can be scary and uncomfortable. And paying taxes is most definitely not fun. 
Are we listening to wisdom | DevotedQuilter.com
In the face of those unwise temptations, Wisdom (meaning all the sources of wisdom I mentioned, and more) points out the right way to go and the possible consequences if we choose a different path. She's always nearby, waving her arms and shouting her warnings. The question is, are we listening to her?

January 05, 2023

TGIFF - Lego Ornament

Welcome to the first TGIFF of 2023! I hope you've had a fabulous start to your year 😊 

A quick announcement before we get into the party. If you've been wanting to sew blocks with curved seams, but you're a little intimidated by them, join me for the Conquering Curves workshop on January 21st. I promise curved seams aren't as scary as they look!
Conquering Curves workshop | DevotedQuilter.com
In this 2 1/2 hour workshop, we'll use my Noodles pattern (included in your registration) to sew gently curved blocks. I'll share my tips and tricks for pucker-free curves, which you'll also able to use for any other curved blocks you'd like to make.

Make 2023 the year you conquer those curved seams!

Register for the workshop now!

I have a very small finish to share today, but I also need to share this artwork Nathan gave me for Christmas, to put in my sewing room.
Nathan's artwork | DevotedQuilter.com
I love that he added a picture of the Medallion Magic quilt that hangs in our living room, which he reminds me every now and then is still his favourite of all the quilts I've made. Here's a picture of Medallion Magic, so you can see what a great job he did on his version.
Medallion Magic quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
The Medallion Magic pattern is available in my shop!
Handmade gifts really are the best!

And now for my finish. When Aiden was born, I decided to make him an ornament every year for Christmas, with the design reflecting some interest of his through the year. As his brothers came along, I made ornaments for them, too. The plan was always to continue until they finished high school, so Aiden's and Zachary's ornament collections are finished. As I discovered last month, making just one ornament is a lot faster than making three!

I searched and searched for a cross stitch pattern for Lego blocks that would be small enough to fit on an ornament for Nathan, but couldn't find one. Instead, I used a clip art image, coloured it with crayons, and then embroidered the outline. I really love how it turned out!
Lego ornament | DevotedQuilter.com
Last year I made different ornaments using crayons and wrote a full tutorial for the process. I also have a tutorial for how I assemble these ornaments.

I still have a couple of WIPS-B-GONE finishes to share, but I haven't taken the time to get pictures of them yet, so they'll have to wait a little longer.

What have you finished recently? Link it up below so we can celebrate together. Don't forget to visit a few of the other links to celebrate their finishes, too!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

January 02, 2023

Standing Firm

Devotion for the Week...

Happy New Year! Did you have a big celebration to welcome 2023? We have gotten into the habit of watching a movie as a family on New Year's Eve, timed so it ends just before midnight. Then we wish each other a happy new year...and go to bed. That's as exciting as it gets around here!

For the first devotion of the year, I have a verse that has stuck with me since I read it a month or so ago. It's part of Isaiah 7:9 and it says, "Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." To give you the context, God was speaking through Isaiah to King Ahaz, who was king of Judah, when the kings of Israel and Syria had made an alliance to attack Jerusalem. Ahaz was worried (I would have been, too, I'm sure!), but God sent Isaiah to Ahaz to "tell him to stop worrying" (v. 4) and that "this invasion will never happen; it will never take place" (v. 7), followed by, "unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm."

Imagine if I twisted my ankle and couldn't stand, so a friend came and stood next to me so I could lean on her, my arm draped around her neck and hers around my waist. Together, we could keep me standing. That wouldn't work so well if the person who came to help was someone I didn't trust, or someone I thought didn't care if I got hurt. I wouldn't lean on them the same way and I might not accept their help at all. Similarly, God had Isaiah tell Ahaz that God couldn't help him stand firm if he didn't have faith that God could (and would) help. Not because God wasn't capable or willing to help, but because Ahaz wouldn't lean on God for support. Instead, he would hobble along in his own power, with his own understanding of the situation and his own solutions, which may or may not actually help.

While most of us have not lived with the threat of an imminent invasion, we have all dealt with situations that have made us worry, so we can identify with Ahaz in that moment. We know what it's like to be worried and afraid, to have no control over the situation we're facing. I believe God's message to Ahaz holds true for us, too. He can't make us stand firm through our troubles if we're not willing to lean on Him. We have to have faith that He is there, that He can help us and that He wants to help us. If our faith in Him is firm, we will lean on Him and He can make us stand firm through whatever comes our way.
God can make us stand firm through whatever comes our way | DevotedQuilter.com
But if we don't believe He is there in our troubles, or we don't believe He can help or that He wants to help, then we will pull away from Him. And if we're pulling away from Him, determined to go it alone in our own strength, then we're standing on a rickety foundation, indeed.