The Sawyer

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20,21)img_8784b

Dear Readers,

I am sorry it has been a while since I posted, but life has been busy lately.

Let me tell you about ONE of the things I was busy with:

My husband is very good at many things, and he has a variety of interests, one of which is his portable sawmill. He is “a sawyer” (definition: ‘someone who saws wood’).  This past weekend we set up the sawmill at a small local country fair and he demonstrated how it works, he took several large logs on a trailer, and with the help of some friends, he milled them all into boards, made benches, made some posts for the Revolutionary War reenactors, and was able to talk to a lot of people about one of his passions -wood! Meanwhile, I sold the serving boards that he makes, and manned the booth answering what questions I could, and talked with some folks about the Lord, invited some to Church. It was a lovely weekend, even though it was rather hot – I thought things were supposed to cool off in September but the heat index was over 100 on Saturday! Phew!

Whenever I watch my husband run his sawmill, I try to see the wood through his eyes. He first looks at the log, they are often rough, dirty, covered in rough hard bark, and may not look like much at first – but he sees potential! He positions it ‘just so’ on the sawmill bed in order to get the best yield. The first slices cut off the bark, and he starts to get an idea of what lies beneath. The next slices go deeper into the heart of the log, bit-by-bit, slice-by-slice he goes, revealing what he suspected was there – the true value of the beauty of the log! What beautiful grains are exposed, what wonderful patterns placed there by their Creator, just waiting for the sawyer to find them! Sometimes, he finds that the tree was rotten inside, and sometimes he will find a piece of metal imbedded in the tree that he was not expecting – a nail, a horseshoe, a clothesline pulley, and any number of things that were attached to the tree and over the years the tree just grew around it until it disappeared and became a part of the tree – amazing! He can often salvage part of the tree, and just cut out the offending metal piece.

After he has cut the log into boards, he dries them in his kiln to get the moisture out, then he will take them into his shop and run them through a planer, and finally sand them smooth with a sander so that they are useful. He looks at each board he has cut, and “sees” what he is going to make out of it. He makes tables for families to gather round at mealtimes, and cabinets to hold a family’s treasures. From Tree to Treasure, there is a process that the wood goes through and my husband, the woodwright (another of his titles), takes them through that process.

You know, God is like a sawyer, He is the Creator, and the wise Masterbuilder of His Church (1 Corinthinans 3:10). He takes a rough, dirty sinner, and He saves us by His grace. We may not look like much at first, and we may not think that God can use such a sinful person, but through the process of ‘Progressive Sanctification’, He can and He will if we will yield ourselves to His capable hands. He uses all kinds of trials and situations to ‘slice away’ at us, revealing our true value, making us more like His Son (Romans 8:28-30). He planes and sands away the rough edges as we read and obey His Word and pray, drawing closer to Him. He makes us “meet for the Master’s use” (2 Timothy 2:21). There is a purpose in all he allows in our lives, because He has a plan for each of us, He “sees” what He is going to make out of us. He will expose the sin in our life, and help us ‘cut it out’, or “put off… the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). Then, He makes us into a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), and makes us “that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:12) – “ a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.”

I hope you enjoyed my analogy of the sawyer and our Wise Masterbuilder.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

“Wood” you let the Lord do His “perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing”? (James 1:4)

The “Whole Thing!”

…faith hath made thee whole…” (Matthew 9:22; Mark 5:34, 10:52; Luke 8:48, 17:19; Acts 4:9,10)Whole thing

Do you sit around and think about words? I do! I think about why we use that particular word, where it came from, what the root word(s) are in it, what the original meaning was, etc, etc. Sometimes I say them over and over in my head until they sound ridiculous. Go on! Try it! Say, “whole, whole, whole, whole, whole, whole, whole” over and over, doesn’t it sound weird? Sorry, I digressed…

Well, a few weeks ago, we were reading in John chapter 5 about the impotent man (Definition of impotent: not potent; lacking in power, strength, or vigor; lacking bodily strength or physically helpless), and “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?(John 5:6). Well, in order to be made whole (Synonyms for whole: complete, perfect, healthy, entire, total, full, fulfilled, intact), he would have to have been un-whole (Antonyms for whole: incomplete; imperfect; unhealthy; broken; deficient; insufficient; impaired; sick) which he was. So, “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole…” (vs 8-9). Verse 15 tells us that “The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.” I find it interesting that the phrase “made whole” is used several times in this passage, and also in many others (some are listed above). In verse 14, it says “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more…” Which implies to me that in addition to healing the man physically, Jesus made him whole spiritually through faith in Him. In many cases in scripture, Jesus said, “thy faith hath made thee whole”, which got me to thinking about how Jesus healed people physically by His power, but He also healed them spiritually by their faith in Him. It is faith that makes us whole spiritually. Faith in the Lord Jesus, in Who He is, and what He has done for us. It’s that “whole thing!”

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

So, if we have not accepted Christ as Savior, we are “un-whole(incomplete; imperfect; unhealthy; broken; deficient; insufficient; impaired; sick):

  • Incomplete because we have a void in our soul that only God can fill.
  • Imperfect because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
  • Unhealthy because the only way to be healthy in mind, body, and soul is to have a proper relationship with the Lord.
  • Broken because life is hard, and it doesn’t always make sense, and it is not fair.
  • Deficient because we are lacking the One who will make our life worth living.
  • Insufficient because there is nothing we can do in and of ourselves that would make us good enough to be in God’s holy presence.
  • Impaired by our sinful state that renders us useless to a just and holy God.
  • Sick because of the sin that indwells us and the natural man who causes us to do that which is evil in the sight of God.

I would like to proclaim, as that man did, that it is Jesus who made me whole. I was a sinner, lost in my sins, with no One to comfort me, with no peace, and with no hope of getting into Heaven on my own merit. When I got saved, I remember realizing that now I am complete. That nagging feeling that something had been missing in my life was GONE.

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:10)

Being born-again makes me part of God’s family, His child. And as a loving Father, He wants to give me what is best for me, He wants to supply my needs, and He wants me to be full of the Joy of the Lord. Now, I don’t mean that he wants me to be happy happy happy all the time, happiness comes from happenings, but true Joy comes from our relationship with the Lord. Knowing that He is in control, and that His way is perfect.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:23-24)

He gives me strength when times get tough.

…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

I hope that you can say with me that you have “the whole thing” going for you. That you have been made whole — saved, redeemed, born-again, are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the cross that paid the price for ALL our sins and that you have trusted wholly in Him and Him alone. That He died and rose again to fully satisfy the price demanded by our just and Holy God for the sin we have committed. He did the whole thing for you so you can believe the whole thing about Him and be whole.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

I’m thankful I believed “the whole thing”!

Recipe for the Bread of Abundant Life

Recipe for the Bread of Abundant Lifeloaf-of-bread

(or how to be instructed and illuminated by God’s Word)

Here’s a “recipe” you may enjoy. Whether you are a new Christian just starting out on your adventure with Christ, or whether you are a seasoned believer, we can all use a new “recipe” to make our walk with the Lord fresh, exciting, and flavorful.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven:

  • Without the oven turned on, nothing’s going to cook.
  • Salvation – When you place your full trust in God’s Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in you and seals you for your Heavenly Father (Ephesians 1:13), without Him you cannot understand and apply God’s Word (John 14:26).

Step 2: Gather Tools:

  • You will need a recipe or cookbook. Besides this you will need some other tools – maybe a mixer, bowls, spoons, measuring utensils, sifter, and pans to work effectively.
  • Bible – Besides your Bible, it is a good idea to have some other tools on hand when you read God’s Word – A pen and a journal to write in and make notes about what the Lord teaches you as you read, and also to record prayer requests and answers to prayer. A concordance, and even some commentaries may help your time with the Lord be more effective.

Step 3: Gather ingredients:

  • Yeast
    • A raising agent, it doesn’t take much – too much will ruin the loaf!
    • P-raise the Lord before, during and after reading His Word (Psalm 150).
    • Also, leaven is symbolic of sin, so confess sin as the Lord reveals it so that there is nothing between your soul and the Savior (1 John 1:9; Psalm 66:18), it will ruin your life!
  • Water
    • Moistens, brings life, and satisfies our thirst.
    • Jesus – without Him, there is no abundant life (John 10:10). He is the Living Water, and he satisfies the thirst of our souls (John 4:10,14).
  • Oil
    • Helps the bread reach it’s fullest flavor & texture
    • The Holy Spirit – We need Him to show us the fullness of what God wants us to see in His Word, and acquire wisdom through it. (Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Corinthians 2:9,10)
  • Flour
    • Comes from a kernel of grain that has been opened, by a grinding process that lets the goodness out of it so it can be used to make bread and other baked goods with.
    • Illumination – When we open God’s Word and “grind” through the reading process, with the Holy Spirit’s aid, we can get the goodness out of it so we know God better and grow more like the image of His Son (John 5:39, Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 3:18).
  • Sugar
    • Sweetness, helps the yeast to work.
    • LOVE – for God and others, which helps all that we learn to be applied properly. (Ephesians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 13)
  • Salt
    • Preservative, and flavour.
    • Sharing – what we have learned with others so that the GOSPEL of God’s love can be spread (Matthew 5:13).

Step 4: Mix/Knead:

  • Mix all the ingredients together, then knead – pulling and pushing, working and acting to combine it all together.
  • Study and read God’s Word, then obey what He tells you to do! Act on what you learn! It makes you wise, so everything comes together and makes sense (Revelations 1:3; Acts 17:11)

Step 5: Bake:

  • Process that cooks the bread, it is it takes time and patience, you have to wait until the time is up, turn on the oven light if you want, so you can see the progress.
  • MEDITATE on what you have read (Philippians 4:8,9), it takes time and patience. Wait on the Lord for illumination (Joshua 1:8) – He will turn the light on!

Step 6: EAT!

  • Partake. You can’t eat just one slice of fresh, baked bread. If it is made well, it leaves you hungry for more.
  • Once you start reading God’s Word, partaking, meditating, obeying, digesting and being illuminated, you will be hungry for more!  “O, Taste and see (for yourself) that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

~I hope you enjoyed this analogy of baking bread and feasting on God’s Word. The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 & 29 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” I don’t know about you, but rest in my soul sounds good to me!

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

“If you haven’t got the Bread of Life, you’re TOAST!”

 

When the Baby Cries

For in many things we offend all. If any mababy cryingn offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2

The last few months my youngest daughter has been babysitting at our house a couple of days a week for a friend’s baby. This baby is the cutest baby ever, and she is so good natured, so happy, so easy, it almost makes me wish I could have a baby again (no, not really!!) – well, I have grand-children for that!! ANYway, even though she is one of the best babies ever, every once in a while she will start to cry, and we know that when she cries, something is wrong, and by trial and error, process of elimination we figure out what is wrong and fix it. It could be that her diaper is dirty, or she is hungry, or has gas and needs to burp, or, or she wants some loving and attention, or she is just tired and cranky and wants her Mommy and Daddy. As children get older, sometimes they just cry because they are selfish and not getting what they want. Nevertheless, there is always a reason why the baby is crying.

My husband has being going through the book of James in his Adult Sunday School class, and we have just finished up a section on the tongue (James 1:26, 3:1-12), and it reminded me of a devotion I did several years ago. It was about when our tongue is out of control, and I named it, “When the Baby Cries”. Just as there are many reasons why a baby cries, there are also many reasons why it seems like our mouth is running over with things that it ought not to be saying. When a baby cries, it is good to go through the list of possible things that could be wrong until we find the reason why our tongue is out of control. The reasons that we neglect to curb our tongue can be correlated with the reasons that a baby cries:

diaper

  • Her diaper is dirtyWhen a baby’s diaper is dirty, we quickly take off the offending “nappy” (British term for diaper), clean the baby up, put on a new diaper, and place that diaper in the trash where we will never look at it again. When we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it affects our heart, and what is in the heart comes out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18). We need to deal with sin quickly – “put it off”, and then “put on” the new man(Ephesians 4:22-25) – clean ourselves up, repent, and never indulge in that sin again. Sin makes us defensive in our speech, it makes us lie, and retaliate with sharp comments and criticisms of others. We need to humble ourselves, confess our sins and repent, God promises to cleanse and forgive us – Praise Him for His mercy (Psalm 53; 1 John 1:9)!

    baby bottle

  • She is hungryWhen a baby is hungry, she starts crying, and the crying gets louder and louder until that hunger is satisfied. When we are not spending enough time in the Word of God, we can quickly start acting and talking foolishly. God’s Word cleanses us (John 15:3), makes us wise (2 Timothy 3:15), makes us holy (John 17:17), helps us grow in our walk with the Lord (1 Peter 2:2), keeps us on God’s path (2 Timothy 3:16), keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11), and puts a song in our hearts (Colossians 3:16), just to name a few things!! So, if your tongue is out of control, it may be that your soul is hungry for the Word of God (Matthew 5:6).

Burping

  • She has gasWhen a baby has gas, we have to pat their back and work that gas bubble up until it erupts out of her mouth. When we are too wrapped up in the world, its entertainment, its philosophies, and its influence eventually that worldly “gas bubble” will erupt out of our mouth, because we are becoming a friend of the world (James 4:4). What is in our heart and mind will come out of our mouths. Just as leaven in hot, fresh baked bread swells in your stomach and gives terrible gas pains, so the leaven of sin in our lives makes us puffed up and gives us terrible conscience pains. When we are too saturated by the world, we tend to get defensive in our speech and are quick to retaliate with sharp comments and criticisms of others. So, STOP loving the world, as John told us! (1 John 2:15).

baby pacifier icon

  • She needs comfort and understandingSometimes a baby cries because she just feels lonely and needs comfort. Sometimes when we feel lonely and misunderstood, we tend to strike out against others. The Lord is our comforter, He is the God of all comfort 2 Corinthians 1:3,4), but He can only comfort us if we go to Him, spend time in His presence in prayer, and allow Him to give us peace and rest. We need to spend time before the throne of Grace to find help in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15,16). Sometimes we need to extend understanding and empathy to others, and be as forgiving of their slips of tongue as we expect them to be of ours (Ephesians 4:32).
  • She is just being selfishAs babies get older, they learn to manipulate us with their crying, they realize that when they cry they get attention, and they get what they want. Often, we say things to attract attention to ourselves, and we use our tongues to manipulate others to give us what we want. Our mouth tends to get out of control when we are being prideful and thinking only of our own needs. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and put others first (Philippians 2:1-5).

I must be

So, Is your tongue out of control? Do you find yourself wishing you could take back the things that come out of your mouth? Do you feel challenged as I do, to take a look at your life, and find out why the baby is crying? Thankfully, our God is merciful and quick to forgive when we confess and repent – He must get tired of hearing me say, “Sorry, Lord, there goes my tongue again!”  Let’s beg him together to “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

I hope this devotional has been a little reminder to you, as it has to me, to search your heart and see what has wormed its way into your heart and begun to defile you. You can have control over your tongue, with the Holy Spirit’s help, He will help you.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Lord, put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth

arm around shoulder

Life is an Open Book Test

…and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life…” (Revelation 20:12)

For theBible.jpg last 6 years we have done school at home with our daughters through an online charter school. It is a public school education, but the student does it all at home through their computer. We have enjoyed the flexibility and the benefits of having the girls at home and out of the influences of the world. I remember when we first started, wondering how we would administer tests. Well, some tests are closed book, so as “home facilitator” I was to make sure they did not cheat and look up things they were supposed to have memorized. But, most of the tests are “open book” – if the child is familiar with the subject, they can seek and find the information that they need to answer the question. I remember back when I was in school, sometimes we would have “open book” tests, and you know, some kids would forget their book?! Some kids would leave the book sitting unopened on their desk while they struggled through the test, trying to figure it out on their own—how foolish, we think! Now, I don’t think open book tests are so bad, actually. As you use the book, and do homework, you will absorb some of the information. And, the more you get into the book, the more you memorize, and the easier it gets to regurgitate the facts. So, for instance in Algebra, you would check the book to see which big equation you need to solve the problem, but you wouldn’t look up your times tables, that would be too time-consuming, and as you have used them over and over, hopefully those times tables would become part of your memory bank and you know them by heart.

Well, did you know that life is an open book test? We have God’s Word available to us – we have the answers to all of life’s questions at our fingertips. The more you get into God’s Book, the more you will memorize it, and know it by heart, and the easier it gets to regurgitate it. “Thy word have I hid in my heart…”(Psalm 119:11). As tough times come, those verses and truths will come back to you, and it makes it easier to have the right response in trials, and find the right path: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

But some people forget the Book! They look everywhere else for the answers, when, if they had only remembered to look in God’s Word, they would find them. And, some people leave it sitting unopened on the table while they struggle through life trying to figure it out on their own – how foolish! God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, loves us and wants us to know Him and His ways. So, He preserved it all in the Bible for us to read and learn and “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It is only with God’s help through His Word and by His Holy Spirit’s power that we can do this. He gives us hope, grace, peace, rest, and much more when we take the time to open His Book and soak in His Word.

There is also a Final Exam in life – Oh NO! I hated final exams in school! Don’t worry—it is an open book test, too! It has one simple answer, and God doesn’t want anyone to fail it (2 Peter 3:9). He has spelled out the Answer over and over in His Word. The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we cannot get to the Father in Heaven without Him (John 14:3). When we accept Him by faith as our Lord, Saviour, and King, our name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. How does our name get in the book of life?

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21:7)

Okay, so “He that overcometh” has his name written in the book of life, so who is “he that overcometh”? I am glad you asked:

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

So, the Final Exam is when the Books are opened and checked to see whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:12,15

I know mine is there because I have trusted in The Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord, Saviour and King, who died on the cross to pay for my sins, and then rose again. I hope you have, too. If not, I pray that you will before it is too late!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

When the books are opened, where will your name be?

**note:

I got the idea for this blog post from one of my husband’s amazing Sunday School classes.