Archive for May, 2007

A Chuck E. Cheese kind of God

A devotion from “Grace For the Moment” by Max Lucado:

No Limits The love of God has no limits.

Human love is conditional. Whether we’re dealing with a friendship or a marriage, our commitments will only go so far. Friendships fail and marriages end in divorce because one can no longer tolerate the other.

But God’s love is unconditional. He loved us before we were even interested in him. He continues to love us even as we disappoint Him with out immature attitudes. And His love for us prevails although our conduct may offend Him. There is nothing we could do that would make God love us less.

God’s love extends to us in full measure. It is not distributed in small portions as we earn “spiritual brownie points” if we are good deed doers. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more.

God loves us unconditionally even though He knows we can’t love Him back to that extent. That’s what makes His love so perfect.

Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

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This devotion inspired the following:

As I read the line “spiritual brownie points” above I recalled an image that God brought to my mind long ago – allow me to illustrate.

Remember as a kid going to the Chuck E. Cheese and earning all those tickets? Remember being certain you were going to get a handful of tickets for your efforts and occasionally not receiving any at all?? Remember pushing all the tickets into every pocket available for stuffing? Remember laying out the tickets and counting them one by one…the coveted LONG strands that were so great because that meant you did a really GREAT job to earn so many…and the piddly singles that never seemed to add up to quite enough? Remember gazing at the prize cabinet…and even up to the prize wall? Remember not even turning them in for the piddly prizes because you were saving up for the BIG prizes on the wall??

Some people think we have a Chuck E. Cheese kind of God. That He is standing behind the counter guarding His “Wall of Blessings”. That we can look but will not receive unless we earn enough “perseverance and good deed tickets”.

Imagine such a thing…here we are going through life doing good deeds and earning our tickets. Sometimes we do something really good and out comes the coveted LONG strand of good deed tickets! Sometimes we put forth great effort but not a single good deed ticket is produced and we are rewarded with the mere frustration of our insufficiency. However, we know that if we persevere and continue to do enough good deeds we could pocket those occasional perseverance tickets that would add up to something worthwhile in the end. Imagine taking all your tickets and stashing them away, hoarding them for the eventual personal satisfaction you’ll receive one day.

The day arrives and off you go, pockets bulging and anticipation high! You’re willing to bet you may even be able to get one of those really GREAT blessings on the blessing wall! You wait in line thinking about all those people in front of you and wondering how long they have been saving up for this day. You walk up to the counter, present all your tickets to God, certain that the more you pull out of your pocket, the more impressed He becomes…counting them one after another, after another until you’ve calculated all your good deed tickets and perseverance tickets. Your eyes climb the wall to the top where the best blessings reside. You’re sure you must have enough perseverance tickets to earn that long-awaited Godly spouse. Or maybe earned enough good deed tickets to finally get that mission field opportunity! You are nervous with excitement…

Your eyes scan for the price, shifting back and forth, but it can’t be found. Where could it be?? How much does it cost?! You have waited this long, put forth this much effort, persevered and done good deed after good deed all for the purpose of claiming your prize and now a nervous anxiety grows up inside of you. Your gut reaction is one of anger, “God, where are the prices??!! How do I know if I have earned enough?! I have been waiting for this day to come and claim my blessings and I have no idea if I have enough!! ”

“My child, why is this the first time you have come to me? Why have you waited so long? Every day I have longed for you to come to me and simply ask, ‘Lord bless me, indeed!’ You will find no price upon my blessings. Their value is not made perfect through your payment, but rather through My timing.”

God has no use for your perseverance and good deed tickets. He is not looking for those who are hoarding their talons. Thank the Lord that your tickets are worthless and that the fact is that the blessings are free! Thank the Lord that He doesn’t want to give you what you deserve or even what you have “earned”!

Have you been saving up your good deed and perseverance tickets to present to God?

God’s saving grace is a gift, not one that can be earned, we all know this if we are truly saved. However, we so often stubbornly maintain our human mindset that we somehow have the ability to earn the blessings of God. Do not present your good deeds and perseverance as an offering to the Lord. It is your life He requires…love keeps no record of wrongs and humility keeps no record of rights. God will prove to you that when you wrap your arms around His will there are no hands to grab your good deed and perseverance tickets and better yet, no need to. Lay down your rights and pick up your cross.

God’s blessings are never out of reach.

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Face wiper aka drool catcher – a dinner napkin revival

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I have been meaning to learn to sew for something like ten years. In fact, I was inspired by my first child. I wanted to make her an outfit out of this cute red corduroy printed with dalmation puppies. I ventured to make a pair of baby overalls. I think I tried to make them in a 12 month size, but I was so intimidated by how small the seam allowance seemed to be that I overcompensated enough to morph it into a 6 month size. Needless to say, my daughter never wore it and I decided to wait until I found someone who could help me along before trying anything else.

Well, my sewing machine moved from one closet to another and I never happened upon this “someone” who would instruct and inspire me. SO, the next time I used my sewing machine was last year. Of all things, I decided to reupholster our couches. I have no idea what I was thinking, having never sewn a zipper or a three dimensional covering but I apparently lost enough brain cells over the last decade to cause me to believe it was possible. I actually did nearly complete our loveseat. The cushion was the hardest part, by far! I did learn how to create a pattern from existing pieces and how to keep from crying every time I had to re-thread the machine. However, I struggled through breaking the thread every minute or so – you mean you aren’t supposed to use garment thread on upholstery?? I also struggled with the corners – you mean you should cut slits in the corner so it will overlap naturally as you sew?? I guess there’s also different needles for different projects. Wow, I knew a whole lot of nothing when it came to sewing. I am surprised the couch didn’t disintegrate when we sat on it for the next year!

So now I come to my third sewing machine project ever – inspired by our newest addition. It is a dainty little sun dress I cut out of cloth napkins. I really like the pattern on the napkins as it is very delicate. The photo below actually gives the appearance that I know what I am doing but I haven’t gone so far as to even thread the sewing machine yet. I need some Divine wisdom because at this point I am going to continue to cut out pieces that will mock me while they lie in wait. My new motivation is that I am very eager to design my own patterns. I even have a couple very elementary sketches of some ideas.

If anyone knows of some great online sewing resources – or books, for that matter, please share!

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