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)

Citizen or Alien

For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20

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Crocus

When my family emigrated to the United States of America from England 41 years ago, we had to go through a LONG immigration process: my parents filled out the appropriate forms, we got the proper immunizations and health checks, got our passports ready, we applied for visas, and we waited. My Mum made many calls to the American Embassy in London, who kept saying that the quota of chemists being admitted had been met for the month, and we waited. In October, we packed up most of our furniture and belongings and shipped them in a container to America, and we waited. We lived off lawn chairs, sleeping bags, and paper plates, “camping” in our house, while we waited. Our lives were in limbo. I wanted to be in the Christmas program at my school, but I told them I couldn’t because I didn’t think I would still be in England, my brothers and I stopped studying at school because we thought we would be leaving any day, and we waited. Eventually, at the end of FEBRUARY, after several phone calls to the company that was hiring my father, and the CEO of the company calling the Embassy and letting them know that they needed my father there NOW, we were issued green cards so we could finally move to America. We were ‘permanent resident aliens’. We were able to enjoy some of the security, freedoms, and privileges of living in America. It meant that as long as we behaved ourselves, and renewed our visas on time, we could stay in the USA as aliens and live and work here, but if we didn’t obey the laws, there was the chance we could be deported, and sent back to whence we came! We finally moved to America, land of the free and home of the brave, land of the American dream, I thought that it was mostly skyscrapers and cowboys!
When I married my high school sweetheart (an American) I decided to officially become an American citizen, so I went through the process of applying, being interviewed, having a biometrics appointment, filling out forms and questionnaires, taking a test, and waiting for a decision. Finally I turned in my green card, and on March 25, 1983 I took an oath of allegiance before a judge with several other “aliens” to receive a Certificate of Naturalization – I became a U.S. Citizen by choice, even though I was not one by birth. The oath of allegiance states:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
It was a serious and binding decision with permanent consequences, one I took willingly because I wanted the security, freedoms, and privileges that came along with being an American citizen.
A few years later, through my husband’s mother’s passing away, I made another serious and binding decision, this time with eternal consequences: I trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. The wonderful, kind Pastor who had led my mother-in-law to the Lord in the hospital before she passed away explained salvation to us – he told us that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to offer Himself as payment for our sins. He told us that God is holy and just, and so He cannot allow sin to go unpunished, just as a good earthly judge cannot let guilty criminals go free. I realized that I was a sinner, and that the eternal consequences of being a sinner is that I would spend eternity in hell when I died. So, my husband and I both bowed in humility at God’s sacrificial love for us and accepted the gift of salvation He offered through Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It was a serious and binding decision with permanent consequences, one I took willingly because I wanted the security, freedoms, and privileges that came along with being a child of God, and a citizen of Heaven. By accepting the salvation He offered, I declared, “...that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen...” I was no longer a child of the Prince of this world, the Devil (1 John 3:10), I became a child of God (John 1:12), and along with that came the security that He would never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5); freedom from the penalty and bondage of sin (John 8:31-36); and the privileges of being a child and heir of the King (Galatians 4:5-7), and a citizen of Heaven. I am ever thankful that I am no longer an alien, “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18). My prayer is that anyone reading this will make the choice that I made many years ago and no longer be an alien to God, but become His child, a citizen of Heaven and also enjoy the security, freedoms, and privileges that come along with being a child of God.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Do you have the security, freedoms and privileges of a citizen?

Whose Are You?

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God…Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee…Fear not: for I am with thee.” Isaiah 43:1-5

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Dear Friend,

While cleaning my bedroom a few weeks ago, in my haste to finish dusting, I accidentally knocked a little dish off my dresser and broke it. If you saw this dish at a yard sale, you probably wouldn’t pay much attention to it – you might pay fifty cents for it if you thought it was cute, because it wouldn’t seem like much to you. But to me, and to my family it is worth a lot because of whose it is – who it belonged to. It was given to me many years ago by my husband’s Aunt Dodo (yes, that is what they called her!), and it is the only thing I have in my possession that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, whose name we used as our second daughter’s middle name. I was heart-broken when I realized what I had done, it was precious to me because of who had once possessed it.
We, as God’s children, all have worth because of whose we are – who we belong to, not so much in who we are. Self-esteem is taking pride in who we are, our unique characteristics and abilities that make us unique. But unfortunately, due to our human nature, taking pride in those things tends to make us conceited and vain, because we forget Who gave us those things. 1 Corinthians 4:7 sums it up, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”. I believe we should practice more “God-esteem” rather than “self-esteem”, to “esteem” means to value highly, to honor, to admire, to respect, and appreciate, and who deserves our esteem better than Him? He is the One who gives us value.
So, like that little dish I broke, we have value only because of Whose we are. If we have trusted in Jesus as Saviour, we are His child (John 1:12), He loves us “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), and we are “precious” in His sight (Isaiah 43:1-5), He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and He wants us to bring glory to His name. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). There lies the answer to that age-old question in most people’s minds: “Who am I, and why am I here?” If you seek the answer to that question, may I introduce you to my Lord, Who also loves you – He loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die for your sins as well as for mine: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He loves you, even your broken pieces (and we all have broken pieces!). No one is so broken that His grace and mercy cannot fix and make into a “new creature” (2 Cor 5:17).
Everlasting life with God, and an everlasting love for us – now that is a life worth living! That is the life with God-esteem. It is not something that changes with our emotions, or with our circumstances – it a solid fact! God loves each one of us, and when we become His child we become the “apple of His eye”, and He will keep us “under His wings” of love and mercy (Psalm 17:8). And one more thing…He doesn’t make mistakes! So, whatever you are going through, whatever physical, emotional, relational problems you have, the Lord knows all about them, and He is there with you, loving you, and guiding you through. He loves you and your broken pieces! Trust Him! I hope that you have this everlasting life and Light in your life, because of Whose you are.

~ Graced and Grateful Grammy

You have value because of Whose you are