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)

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She’s A Keeper

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23Mystic Lighthouse

God called David “a man after mine own heart” – my heart’s desire is that the Lord refers to me as “a woman after mine own heart.” We have a phrase that describes a girl that you would want your son to marry ~“a Keeper”, because she is one that you want him to hold on to. A woman after God’s own heart is “a Keeper” because He wants to hold on to her, and she wants to cling to Him. Also, there are several jobs that have the name keeper in them: zookeeper, gatekeeper, goalkeeper, housekeeper, shopkeeper, prison keeper, lighthouse keeper, etc. Keeping is what they do! So, as you know I love words, I did a little word study on the word “keeper”:

keeper

noun keep·er \ˈkē-pər\

: one that watches over, guards, protects, and maintains

: a person whose job is to guard or take care of something or someone

: something or someone that is worth keeping

: something or someone that is good, valuable, etc.

In Genesis 4:9, when God asks Cain where his brother Abel was (as if He didn’t know!), Cain asks God, “am I my brother’s keeper?” He meant it negatively, or in other words, “I am not my brother’s keeper!” But a woman after God’s own heart, one whom God can use IS “a keeper”, not just in the sense that a godly man would want to “keep her”, but in the sense of ‘one that watches over, guards, protects, and maintains‘, and “someone that is worth keeping, good, and valuable.”

She is a keeper of many things, including: her heart, her home, and her Father’s household:

1. A keeper of her Heart: Holiness comes from sacrifice: sacrifice of praise, worship, faith, time, obedience, money, and prayer. We keep our hearts pure by filling it with good things and keeping out the evil. By thinking only on things that are “true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report…”(Philippians 4:8). And, by giving ourselves wholly to God, to use as He will.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.” Psalms 19:14

But I beseech you therefore brethren…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

2. A keeper of her Home: A woman after God’s own heart makes her home her priority, she is loving, kind, hospitable, hard-working, discreet, and good. She seeks to meet others’ needs and loves self-sacrificingly.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

Let nothing me done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Phillipians 2:3,4

3. A keeper of her Father’s Household: She is careful to edify and encourage others (Ephesians 4:12), not comparing with others (1 Corinthians 10:12), allowing others’ strengths to balance out her weaknesses, realizing that we are all members of the body of Christ (Romans 12:4).

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another.” Hebrews 10:24,25

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

I hope this little devotion has encouraged you to be “a Keeper”, and that you will strive with me to be a woman after God’s own heart.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

keep on keeping on”

I’d like to think I saw a moose

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

We have taken our children to Canada for family vacations several times, and each time we go we all peer expectantly out the car windows hoping to catch sight of a moose, but to no avail. Every one wants to be the one who sees the first moose! The last time we were in Canada, we went to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, we had a great trip and continued our sport of “moose-spotting”. Well, we were driving along a road and I looked over to the hedgerow to my right and spied a big brown blob (it was probably a bush of some sort) and proclaimed, “I saw one! I just saw a moose! I know I did – there, behind the lupines!”  Of course, my trusting family shouted out, “No, you didn’t! Where? It’s probably just a bush! Mom, you’re seeing things!” They didn’t believe me at all, and after being teased and ridiculed (as families crammed together in a minivan tend to do) for a while, I finally mumbled, “well, I’d like to think I saw a moose!” You know, they still tease me about what “I’d like to think.”Lupines

But aren’t we like that in so many areas? We want something to be true so badly, even though we know it’s not true, but we cling to our belief in order to rationalize and justify ourselves. We say (to ourselves): “Well, I’d like to think that I wasn’t the one at fault,” or “I’d like to think that I was the one acting maturely,” or “I’d like to think that I wasn’t gossiping,” etc., etc.. Our heart deceives us into micro-analyzing the splinter in another’s eye ignoring the beam sticking out of our own eye (Matthew 7:3-5). We would like to think that, even though we may commit the exact same sin that another person committed, somehow theirs is so much worse! (See Romans 2:1)

I know that I need to look at myself through the mirror of God’s Word (James 1:23-25), no excuses, and fix what He shows me needs fixing. Not just go along on my merry way, saying to myself, “I’d like to think that I didn’t just read that, it must not mean what it says. I don’t need to fix anything, I am fine just the way I am!” It is humbling and painful, but God’s way is to use His Word to cleanse us and make us more like His Son, IF we are willing to yield ourselves to what He is trying to teach us.
How about you? What do you “like to think”? Check it against God’s Word and see if your thinking is God’s thinking.
~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Are you thinking what God is thinking?

Charity Begins at Home

Charity Begins at HomeBleeding Heart

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

I remember as a child, growing up in a small village in England, the Church would often hold a Charity Fête. There would be stalls set up on the local green with booths offering all kinds of wares: candy floss (cotton candy), toffee apples (candy apples), sweets (candy), biscuits (cookies), scones (biscuits), there would usually be a Tombola (raffle), Morris dancing (kind of like Irish dancing), and other fun activities. The money raised through the fête would go to any local needs that the Church was aware of, mainly the poor. We would hear the grown-ups saying, “well, you know, charity begins at home,” meaning, we need to make sure that the people closest to us are taken care of and shown love before we reach out to the surrounding areas.
We tend to use and abuse the word love nowadays, we use it to describe how we feel about our car, our favorite foods, a movie, a color, and then the people we care about most in our life, and then our Lord and Savior. I like the way the word charity is used in the King James Bible, it is translated in most other versions as the word love, but it means so much more. The Greek word ‘agape’, translated as charity and love, implies giving sacrificially and selflessly to others, out of genuine goodwill, while expecting nothing in return. Isn’t that how love should really work? I know when my children were small, if they did something kind and selfless for one of their siblings it made my heart so happy. To me, it showed that they were maturing when they started to show concern for others’ needs instead of just their own. You know how children are when they are small (the little heathens!) — no one has to teach them to take the biggest slice of cake, to call their sibling a name, or to shove someone out of the way when they are trying to get to something! As parents, we spend most of our time correcting and guiding our children to be kind and considerate to others. Our children are mostly grown now, and at Christmas all of them enjoy buying special, meaningful gifts for each other, and I think are more excited about watching the others open the gifts they gave than open the ones they received. That sure blesses my heart!
Just think how it must bless God’s heart when He sees His children showing Christian maturity by giving and serving sacrificially –showing charity to their brethren. Our Lord Jesus said that others would know that we are Christians by the love we show to our fellow Christians. I am so thankful for my Church family, my brothers and sisters in the Lord, they have shown charity to our family in so many ways: brought meals when we were sick or when babies arrived, helped us build our house and move in, showed us encouragement and support when we needed it, and mostly, they have faithfully prayed for us. On Valentine’s Day we like to show love to those close to us by giving cards, candy, flowers and gifts, but I feel challenged this year to show charity to those around me every day of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day. The most loving thing we can do for someone who does not know Jesus as their Savior is to lovingly share the truth of the Gospel with them, and help them to have the joy of sins forgiven, God’s grace while living, and being bound for heaven.  Let’s show a little charity, both at home, and farther around us.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy
Do all things with love
“Let all your things be done with charity.” I Corinthians 16:14

When In A Bother, Help Another

Galatians 6:9,10 “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

Dear Friend,

I was born in England, my family moved to America when I was the tender age of 12 – yes, during those awkward, insecure middle school years my Father decided to move us across the ocean to a totally different country and culture! I soon came to realize that, although we speak the same language, the “English” spoken in America is rather different from the language of my mother country. I won’t go into all the embarrassing situations that came up, but suffice it to say that I learned how to speak “American” quickly to get my fellow awkward-insecure-middleschoolers to leave me alone.
Now that I am adult, I am remembering with fondness the different words and phrases I grew up with.  For example, instead of saying, “I had a hard time”, or, “I had some trouble”, the British would say (now, put on your best British accent before you read this!):  “I had a bit of a bother”! Doesn’t that just sound splendid?  I can just hear Winnie-the-Pooh saying it! In fact, if you are familiar with Pooh Bear, you will recall that he often says “Oh, bother!” when he is having some difficulty. Love it!
The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Galatians to encourage fellow Christians to stay strong in their walk with the Lord.  They were having “a bit of a bother” with the Judiazers who were trying to convince them that in order to be truly saved they needed to keep the Old Testament law of the Jews. After convincing the church at Galatians of his credentials as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul reassured them that it was by grace alone though faith in Jesus that they were saved (Galatians 2:16), not by keeping the law. Verse 9 exhorts them not to get tired of doing right. Do you wonder why they were weary in well doing? Because doing the right thing is HARD! It goes against our natural instinct, it goes against our flesh to do the Christ-like thing. Paul encouraged them by telling them that there is a reward to reap if they don’t get tired and quit.
We were reading these verses a few months ago in family devotions, and it was as if a light went on in my head when I read the verse that follows – verse 10. After telling the Galatians not to quit doing right, Paul tells them to look for opportunities to help others! Have you ever heard anyone say that if you are in the middle of hardships,  go find someone worse off than you and help them? I  have heard it many times and it makes sense to take your mind off your own problems by reaching out to someone else. But these verses lead me to believe that it is Biblical. Paul told the Galatians to do good to others, especially fellow Christians. So, dear reader, are you going through a rough time? Are you “in a bit of a bother?” Well, ask the Lord to put someone on your heart that you can help – it may just be sending a note of encouragement, a phone call, a hug, offering to babysit, or taking a meal, or just a baked goodie, maybe a visit, or just an offer of your prayers and a shoulder to cry on. Get before the Lord in prayer and He will let you know…You will receive the greater blessing. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Graced and Grateful Grammy

~When in a bother, help another ~Studio_20160125_154730

“If you don’t use it you lose it!”

Forget me notsDear Friend,

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

About a year and a half ago, my husband and I embarked on a new healthier lifestyle. We had both entered our fifties and decided it was time to start eating healthier and exercising regularly. We have both been pretty faithful to our plan, we have both lost weight, gained muscle tone, and feel so much healthier and stronger. Well, along came Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and New Year’s Eve and Day, along with the children home from college and guests for dinner…etc…etc… Through that time I slacked off on the exercising, I snacked on unhealthy junk, I sat around a lot, and as a result I gained several pounds and lost muscle strength. In my exercise routine – sit-ups, push-ups, leg-ups – the “downs” were easy but the “ups” had become so much harder! How quickly that happened, I was unpleasantly surprised to find out!
I believe that physical exercise is profitable, and we should keep our body under control (1 Corinthians 9:27), a healthy body is strong and better prepared to serve the Lord in whatever He calls us to do. Self control, especially in the area of our eating habits, is also a good thing to pursue, God’s Word addresses gluttony almost as much as He does drunkenness. But, exercising ourselves in godliness is more profitable to us as far as eternity is concerned. Our spiritual fitness is more vital than our physical fitness, I have heard it said that faith is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. How does our faith grow? Romans 10:17 tells us that “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We need daily time in God’s Word, reading and meditating on it, we need fervent intimate prayer with our Abba Father, and we need fellowship with fellow believers. Through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, I also found that due to the busyness of the season, I was lacking in those important things, too. I found myself slacking on exercising time in God’s Word, and in prayer. I found myself “snacking” on the unhealthy junk that the world has to offer, I also missed a few Church services. Before long I had gained some bad habits, and lost strength in my walk with the Lord. When the “downs” came along (irritations, interruptions, annoyances), because I did not have as much strength and joy from the Lord, the “ups” were harder to gain (being kind, compassionate, and Christ-like toward others). Isn’t it amazing how our spiritual walk is so mirrored in the physical world? I believe that’s why the Lord Jesus spoke in parables to the people, He used real-life situations to make word-pictures with spiritual applications because it makes sense to us and we can learn from what we are familiar with.
I hope that you are encouraged to continue on in your “spiritual fitness program”, keep on “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13), you will reap rewards here on earth (the life that now is) and also one day in Heaven (the life that is here to come), according to our verse: 1 Timothy 4:8.

~Seven days without prayer makes one weak~

~Graced and Grateful Grammy