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Welcome! This blog is an extension of The Home Maker's Corner. Here I share thoughts, Bible studies, recipes, music, photography, art, home decor, crafts, and more. I hope you enjoy it!
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Empty Tomb – A Poem by Annie Johnson Flint

 

The Empty Tomb

A Mohommedan once said to a missionary:
"We have our Prophet's tomb to show,
but you have nothing."

Earth's Meccas and the faiths of men
Hold but a corpse within a tomb;
Each weary pilgrim's journey ends
At some sad shrine of grief and gloom.

Earth's prophets rest, in silence wrapped,
Dust in the dust from whence they came;
By Death's chill wind their torches quenched,
No more to kindle into flame.

Earth's priests in solemn splendor sleep,
Ashes to ashes, robed and stoled;
Their chanted prayers forever hushed,
Their altar fires forever cold.

Earth's kings in state and glory lie,
In crypts of porphyry encased;
Their names and deeds, in marble carved,
Time's blurring touch has half erased.

No mausoleum built by man
Entombs our Prophet, Priest and King;
Our love no pilgrimage need make,
No fading votive garlands bring.

No death could kill, no guard could keep,
No seal could stay, no grave could hold
Immortal Life in mortal clay;
No darkness could the Light enfold.

Our Prophet's word shall come to pass,
Our Priest is interceding still;
Our King shall reign forevermore,
While heaven and earth shall do his will.

"No grave to show"? This is the stone
On which the temples of our faith
Rise higher than the mosques of Ind;
Our Living Lord has conquered Death!

Annie Johnson Flint

Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thought from the Past - What Is Easter to them? Is It About the Resurrection or A Carnival?

 

I wanted to repost this item that I wrote a couple years ago as it is still applicable.

What Is Easter to them? Is It About the Resurrection or A Carnival?

I also thought it would be good to add a link to this thought provoking article at The Berean Call.  It is saying a similar thing from a different perspective.

The “Jesus” the World Loves

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Some Amazing Wonders of Creation

 

Lightening with volcano eruptions – very stunning!  Not something I’d ever want to see in person, though, at least not close. :-)  It gives one a small appreciations for what it must have been like when God rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah.  Some people believe that may have been a volcanic eruption.  Whether it was or not, the destruction of the very wicked city of Pompey was definitely one.

Psalms 104:32  He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

Indian Pipe Plants intrigue me.  They are a rare plant that is not often seen.  You can read about them here and also here.  These two sites have some nice photos to enjoy. [Photo from Wikipedia.]  I think these pink ones are lovely.  God has given us so many mysterious and interesting thing to ponder in His creation.

 

Rafflesia – the Corpse Flower.  (Please disregard evolutionary chatter.) This flower – is it a plant, is it a parasite, what? – it is one of those things that shows us God has a sense of humor.  The largest known flower on earth that smells like rotting flesh and is hard for scientists to satisfactorily classify. :-)

 

Parrot fish are amazingly diverse and beautiful!  A real inspiration for art - and quilting! :-)  Sometimes I think that the Lord must have gotten a lot of pleasure out creating all these amazing creatures.
[Photos from Wikipedia.]

 

Waterspouts are another amazing phenomenon of creation.  They are mentioned in scripture.  My great-uncle and great-aunt had their house ruined by waterspouts twice.  In one instance the waterspout came off of Lake Victoria (Tanzania), took the roof off their house and dumped its water into the house.  I don’t know if they were home at the time.  It must have been a terrible mess.

Psalms 42:7-8  Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hallelujah, What A Saviour!

 

Some music to edify you this Lord’s Day.

Isaiah 53:3-6  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood

Hallelujah, What A Saviour!

Are You Washed In the Blood of the Lamb?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday: Claradan & Co. Handmade

 

My Australian sister-in-law and their two children have been making things to sell on Etsy.  I posted a button to their page awhile back, but since her cousin wrote up a very nice post about their business, I thought I’d just link to that today. :-) 

They are making a variety of items including homemade sewn things like bags and tissue pouches and puppets.  Clara is also taking orders for custom sewing and, as you’ll see from the following link, her skills are quite a bit more involved than the store items might at first indicate. One recent inquiry that I know of was for making Laura Ingalls style costumes, which is right up her alley. :-)  (I will see if I can get photos if she does that project.)

New Etsy Store: Claradan and Co. Handmade by Jo.

Again, the link to the store itself.  If you like small handmade things for gifts but don’t like to make them yourself, this shop is for you.  And the prices and postage are reasonable, I thought.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Random Spring Day!

 


Lily of the valley shoots taken in Tenn.

This Afternoon I like the…
Smell of… rain last night!  We were so blessed to get some good showers without any hail!  There was some amazing hail not far from us!  I’m so thankful the Lord spared us our garden! 
Sound of… birds singing their sweet spring love songs. :-) 
Taste of… Philippine brand dried coconut.
Sight of… lovely, gorgeous, intoxicating spring greens!!!!
Feel of… fresh spring breezes.

Good Things about Today:

We had rain last night, so I didn’t have to water today as I’d planned. :-)  The weather is sunny and just pleasantly cool – something rare and of great value in Texas!

Things Already Accomplished Today:

I got two unpleasant jobs done that needed attention – scrubbing the grossness out of the dishwasher that had accumulated over time - and from bad soap; and dragging some fallen branches down to the brush pile which we hope to shred into good garden mulch “one of these days”. Maybe you could say I did three things because I also started the job of pulling up the dead, sprawling branches of purple spiderling plants in the yard. Texas has some amazing weeds. They say everything is bigger in Texas… Some things you don’t want bigger, believe me!

Things That Should Be Accomplished Today:

I still need to fold some laundry and plant a beautiful strawberry plant I bought yesterday.  I love strawberry plants that have pink flowers.  Pink flowers and strawberries from the same plant – how great is that? :-)

Random Photo from My World:

My husband took this photo of me earlier this winter.  Today it was sunny and springtime outside when I ate breakfast in front of my light. :-)  I use this artificial “sunlight” lamp from late Sept./Oct. through sometime in March or early April.  It helps wonderfully with my seasonal affected disorder!  It is not ultraviolet light, so there are no worries about skin problems, but it provides that light that is so necessary for our emotional well being.  There is a good reason why Jesus said, “I am the light of the world…”!

For me it is often easiest to eat breakfast in front of the lamp and so accomplish two things at once.  In fact, often I read my Bible during this time also because on the darkest/shortest days I use it for up to 45 minutes a day.  Our kitty does not usually join me like this, but that day she was being unusually social – for a cat. :-)  My husband sometimes joins me when he’s home, but he eats much faster than I do. :-D

Quote for Today:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…

…oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

- William Wordsworth

Verse and Thought for Today:

Genesis 1:31  And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…

If God Himself looked at His creation and saw that it was very good, don’t you think that we also ought to take the time to look at His creation and see that it is very good? :-)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What About the Rapture?

 

Some time back our pastor preached a message on the subject of why we believe in the rapture of the church.  In scripture it is referred to specifically as our gathering unto him (Jesus Christ).  Having run across some odd claims in that regard, I had already been thinking about writing an article on the subject.  It’s taken too long, but I hope that it will be a blessing and/or a help to someone.

Why We Believe In Our Gathering unto Christ,
also Called the Rapture

2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

There has been a good deal of discussion about the doctrine of the rapture of the Lord's church in recent times.  Many mockers have been encouraged by the foolish predictions of Harold Camping.  The Emergent Church movement has pushed the idea that we should not be divisive and that we should just not talk about things we don't agree on.  They imply by this that many things in scripture are really not important.  Some people have gone so far as to conclude that belief in our gathering unto Christ is heresy, even "doctrines of devils".  These last are strong accusations!

First of all, it is important to establish the fact that having a perfect understanding of end time events is nowhere said in scripture to be essential for salvation… 

Continue reading.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday: Worldwide Quilting Day

 

A “cuddle quilt” I made for my mom this year to
take with her when she went to the hospital for surgery.

So, since today is worldwide quilting day, it seemed like a good idea to have another post about quilt related stuff.  I know some of my sewing readers are very interested in quilts and others are more interested in other types of sewing, but on a day like this, we really “need” to go with the quilting theme, right?

What is worldwide quilting day?  Well, it’s just that.  And, there are various special activities available at some quilting shops.  I’m not participating in any, so you may pursue that at your own leisure. :-)  I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some links to various quilting things that I have found useful or helpful in one way or another.

Favorite fabric stores - Because that’s where it all begins:

Now, I should say right here that I don’t just buy quilting fabric from some of these places.  From some I also have purchased fabric for clothing, home d├ęcor, etc.

Fabric.com – This is a big site with LOTS of choices – not all just quilting fabric for sure, so pay attention.  As far as I can tell, they are some kind of discount company, but they get a lot of variety – though not always whole “lines” from the many that are available.  The customer service here is great!  I’ve had issues with mistakes in orders or flaws in the fabric and they have always been most generous and helpful.  They have an online chat help available which I’ve used with good success.  They also offer free shipping on orders over $35!  If you know anything about buying fabric online you know that’s LOW, people!  AND, if you aren’t happy with the fabric they offer free return shipping within 30 days of purchase.  In case you didn’t know, that is also Generous!  Having said all that, their service is probably not quite as personal as some of the smaller fabric shops and individual sellers on places like Etsy, but the helpfulness of their service I think makes up for that.  You do earn credits by registering, but I’m not sure how great it is.  I’ve not used it much - perhaps because sale items don’t count?

Smallest increment they allow you to order: 1/2 yard.  (Not great, not terrible.)  They also sell some precuts.

Missouri Star Quilt Company – Be sure to sign up for their Daily Deals email list.  They have some really exceptional offers sometimes for quilting precuts and tools.  I’ve had good service from them and if you register you can earn points for all purchases which you can later apply to future purchases.  I used my points once to order a Daily Deal and literally only paid shipping!  This is a hometown, family run type business, by the way, so if you especially like to support that type, this is a good one. :-)  Jenny Doan is also my favorite quilting tutorial teacher.  More later on that. :-)

Smallest increment allowed: 1/4 yard – this is good.  They sell yardage and precuts.

Hancock’s of Paducah – This is another site I’ve bought from and had good service and quality.  No problems so far, so I don’t know a lot about their customer service.

Smallest increment allowed:  Seems to be one yard – not great!  BEWARE!  Most prices are for HALF yards, not yards.  So, you’ll be paying twice that for a yard of fabric – and you’ll need to order 2 for every yard you need.  NOT GREAT.  Still, they have some good sales, which is one thing I watch for. ;-)

BugFabric.com – This place has a huge variety of specialty fat quarters.  This is great if you like “I-spy” quilts or to add whimsical prints to your quilts (like in the center of a star).  The prices are reasonable, though not always exceptional; however, it’s very handy for buying just a small piece of something where you only want a picture or two of a specific fabric for your quilt.

Smallest increment – fat quarters, otherwise whole yards. They sell yardage, precuts and individual fat quarters, but I’ve used them only for fat quarter specialty prints.  Prompt mailing.

The Fabric Fairy – They have a limited selection of many kinds of fabric.  Pay attention to what you are buying.  Some prices are quite good.  Service was very satisfactory.

Smallest increment allowed – I think it’s one yard.  Hohummish, but at some prices, it’s worth it.

Favorite tools – thus far.

I am not one to collect a huge variety of tools, so I don’t have a lot to compare things with.  Having said that, though, my rotary cutter, mat and rulers are among my favorites.  They are VERY great tools for quilting projects, but they can also be used in some aspects of clothes making.

I have an Alvin brand 35x24 inch double-sided cutting mat.  It is great!  Lots of room.

I’ve used a couple different brands of cutters and they were both fine.  Not as keen on the Fiskars model I have due to the catch arrangement.  Find something that works for you.

I don’t have favorite scissors.  I did have some Fiskars, but I ruined them.  What I got in place of them don’t impress me a lot.

My favorite rulers so far: 

22 inch square ruler
a long O’lipfa ruler,
and a smaller 3x16” (or so) ruler that I got at Wal-mart.
I would like to add a 12 1/2” square ruler for cutting smaller squares as well.  These have been quite handy.

I also like my Frixion pen, but I try not to use too much in areas that might eventually show on the actual quilt top.  The ink erases with the iron and I’ve had good results so far, but I haven’t used it or tested it extensively.  They do say that the ink can reappear in sub-zero temperatures, so in some places it might be an issue in a car or shed.  My thought is to make the quilts “ironable” so that if the ink should reappear it can be ironed off again.  That’s also why I use it in specific places and not all over the quilt top.

My sewing machine is an old Babylock – great work horse, very simple (very few stitch options, unfortunately), and not in production any more.

Books

Now, I’m a shortcut kind of quilter.  I like fast and easy, so these are not necessarily going to appeal to all! :-)  I also like paper piecing.

Crazy Shortcut Quilts by Marguerita McManus and Sarah Raffuse.  They also have a YouTube page with tutorials, which I’ll put here as it relates very directly to their own specific style.

365 Foundation Quilt Blocks by Linda Causee and Rita Weiss

I tend to “get ideas” from seeing other people’s stuff and looking at books, but I don’t often follow a pattern to the letter!  Kind of like I cook. ;-)

Tutorials and Teaching

Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilt Company is my favorite online teacher/tutorial instructor – hands down.  :-)  She isn’t necessarily for the totally inexperienced beginner.  She assumes that you know some things about basic sewing.  But, she tries to keep things simple and easy, she is not a perfectionist, and she does beautiful work.  She reminds me of an “old” friend and I really like her style of teaching.  Some of her older ones are a little “stiff”, but she’s very comfortable with it now. :-)

I’ve also appreciated some of the free tutorials done by Mary Fons on Quilty.  Her style is a little “goofy” and not for everyone.  She is especially geared to help the “newbie” to sewing/quilting.

Craftsy is a well developed teaching and learning community for quilting and much more.  There are free classes and pay classes available if you sign up.  I really enjoyed the free block of the month (BOM) class last year (as I mentioned in my Quiltcon post).  Once you purchase a class (you “purchase” even the free ones, but there’s no charge), you can access it at any time, take the course at any time, have unending access to the course so you can review or put off watching it, post photos of finished projects, ask questions of other students and the actual teacher, and more.

There have been quite a few individual tutorials on YouTube that I have found helpful and inspiring.  I won’t list them all. ;-)

A couple favorites:

10 minute block from Suzanne McNeil.  I’ve made this one using charm squares (5” squares) and it’s really neat.  And, yes, I did have to watch it numerous times! :-)  I might still have to to get it right.

As I mentioned, I like paper piecing.  I thought this was the best instructional free video I saw on the subject.

Blogs

Of course, blogs are too numerous to go into.  I can’t say I have a particular favorite quilting blog, though I have found inspiration at Stitchery Dickory Dock by Amy Gibson and at Oh, Fransson! by Elizabeth Hartman several times. (Guess that makes me a modern quilter, but I’m not entirely.  I just like creating with fewer rules – and rulers. :-) )  I don’t read any quilting blogs “faithfully” though I have a few online quilting friend whom I visit often. :-)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cherry Pound Cake

 

My husband made this for my birthday a few years ago.  It is one of **the best** cakes I have ever eaten.  Not low in sugar and a lot of (chemically altered) maraschino cherries are included, but – for once in a lifetime – it is SO good! :-)

Cherry Pound Cake

This link it so Taste of Home’s web page.  My copy is from one of the Reiman magazines and is in my recipe file. :-)

It made a thick, lovely batter…

…and a beautiful, golden cake.

The imperfections were not a problem because they covered by the lovely pink frosting – which my husband applied very carefully. :-)

Such a beautiful, yummy cake!

The cake was so rich we ended up cutting the slices quite thin and we got a lot of slices from one cake.  We froze part of them and they did really well.  I think I sliced it (perhaps after refrigeration), put a slip of waxed paper between each slice to help them stay separate and froze the slices in a plastic sealing container.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

It Passeth Knowledge – A Poem

 

(Photo by my brother and sister-in-law, 2012 – Australia)

It Passeth Knowledge

It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet this soul of mine
Would of Thy love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
Know more and more.

It passeth telling, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners far and near
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
And love beget.

It passeth praises, that dear love of Thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet this heart of mine
Would sing that love, so rich, so full, so free,
Which brings a rebel sinner, such as me,
Nigh unto God.

But though I cannot sing, or tell, or know
The fullness of Thy love, while here below,
My empty vessel I may freely bring:
O Thou, who art of love the living spring,
My vessel fill.

I am an empty vessel - not one thought,
Or look of love, I ever to Thee brought;
Yet I may come, and come again to Thee,
With this, the empty sinner's only plea -
Thou lovest me.

Oh, fill me, Jesus, Saviour, with Thy love!
Lead, lead me to the living fount above;
Thither may I, in simple faith, draw nigh,
And never to another fountain fly,
But unto Thee.

And when my Jesus face to face I see,
When at His lofty throne I bow my knee,
Then of His love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
My soul shall sing.

Mary Shekleton

Ephesians 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday: Make An Apron – Links

 

This picture of my mom was taken several years ago.
Isn’t she cute in her apron and slip on “tennies”? :-)

Here are some links to help you make your own apron.  Whether you want a video tutorial, a written tutorial, or you want to find a pattern and need tips there should hopefully be something here to help you.  Some even repurpose/reuse old shirts!

Disclaimer on some content of some pages – as usual.

How to Make And Apron – A large collection of varied information here.

Dishtowel Apron written tutorial

Dishtowel Apron video tutorial PART 1 – with Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Company
Dishtowel Apron video tutorial PART 2

Dress Shirt to Kid’s Apron

Adult Apron from a dress shirt PART 1
Adult Apron from a dress shirt PART 2

Make-do Apron – PDF pattern

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Random Recipe Links

 

I’ve been working on scheduling blog posts for the upcoming week at least, and since I’m still sick at the time of this writing, I’m making it easier on myself by using items that were previously written or that require less work. In this post I’m giving you a smattering of links that I saved for the blog or that I stumbled across. :-)

Enjoy!

These chocolate waffles were made by my husband. Here’s the recipe, only he made some changes, and we ate them with real whipped cream, peanut butter and real maple syrup (among other things).  YUM!  Our family breakfasts….words fail me. :-)

Handheld Blackberry Pies – (Gotta love the pun, people!)

Fresh Ricotta – Someday I want to try this, really….I think…maybe…

Chocolate Molten Cakes – I do want to try this one!

Chocolate-Coconut Angel Cupcakes – These sound really good too.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies – With special regard to my grain-free and gluten free friends. :-)

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – And another.

Runnemede Remembered Recipes – from my friend Judi.

Boudin Meat Balls – “Boudin, the king of Cajun food...”  I’ve heard this is really good and would like to try it sometime, but it’s probably not something I would make. 

And just to throw in something really odd for you all to ponder, in the category of strange ingredients we have -

Corn Smut – not your usual fungus.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Laying Aside Weights – The People Problem

 

Hebrews 12:1-2  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Some of you will remember that in one or two previous posts in this series I mentioned that sometimes people can be weights.  I have to admit that sometimes this is something we deal with almost unconsciously, but it is also sometimes something that we don’t want to deal with when it comes to certain people.

We deal with it unconsciously when we eliminate troublesome or trouble making people from our lives by just avoiding or mostly ignoring them.  This can be that woman at church who is always being cutesy with other men; the older man who always flirts with the ladies and tries to give them hugs; the lady in your Bible study group who never has anything good to say about anyone or anything – ever.  The girl who dresses in such a way that you don’t want your sons around her.  You know who they are.  You just sort of gravitate away from them without too much thought, especially if you see they are set in their ways and are not going to change without a miracle – which is God’s department.  I remember my mom telling about one lady who was so difficult to handle that my mom would actually cross the street to avoid her if she saw her coming.  These people are not as much of an issue.

But there are others who are harder to deal with.

Bad Friends

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

[Some details have been changed to protect the identities of the subjects.]

I had a friend years ago, whom we shall call “Shelly”.  Shelly’s best friend was an unsaved woman.  They had grown up together, married, had kids and gone through many things in life together.  But Shelly’s friend persistently refused to believe the Gospel, and Shelly refused to give up the friendship.  Shelly sometimes did things that were inappropriate from a Christian perspective in an effort to “be friends” with this unsaved woman.  Her friend was influencing her to do wrong.

Another lady we’ll call “Angie” had a friend who professed to be a Christian.  Angie spent a lot of time with her and talked to her often.  The friend appeared to be sincere and honest, but it seemed like everywhere she went she was saying things that were offensive or divisive among Christians (Proverbs 6:16-19  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him…he that soweth discord among brethren.) She also had a habit of asking difficult questions of people she didn’t appreciate.  She did this with what appeared to be sincerity, but in the end she tended to make people feel or look foolish.  Angie shared some of her complaints about their church fellowship with this woman.  Her friend encouraged Angie in this, even convincing her that certain types of sinners ought to be treated “nicely” and not be made uncomfortable about their sin.  Eventually Angie took her family out of the church fellowship.  One way or another, her children became “tolerant” of sin and some of them ended up entering into things that brought embarrassment to Angie and her husband.  [Incidentally, her husband didn’t want to “be nice” about those sins, but Angie wouldn’t listen to him.]

You see, we become what are friends are.  How many, many people have been led down the road to destruction because they made or kept bad friends!

Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us, Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Anger is perhaps one of the most contagious things, as this verse implies, but there are many things that we pick up from other people if we spend time with them.  There are so many ways in which friends can be a snare to our souls, and also in which they can drag us down from running the race with patience.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem like someone is really “that bad”, but what kind of thinking are they introducing us to?  Are they leading us to handle the word of God lightly and to play along the edges of sin?

Proverbs 14:7  Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.

Basically it comes down to this – if you want to be a fool, spend time with fools; if you want to be wise, spend time with wise people.

Which Light?

I have a friend I’ll call “Cammy” whose husband came up with an interesting method of categorizing her friends and acquaintances.  He rates them as “red light, yellow light or green light”.  You can about imagine what that means.  The friends who are an encouragement and help to her, who edify her and also are edified by her, are the “green lights”.  That obviously means she can enjoy their fellowship.  The “red lights” are a full stop.  These she must drop entirely because they are a problem, a weight, a bad influence, too difficult or hard hearted.  The “yellow lights” are interesting, though.  These are the friends who are in an uncertain standing, the ones who are waffling on standards of right or wrong, who are not clearly for or against, who are sometimes helpful and sometimes not.  These are the hardest ones to deal with.

One young lady in particular was a very “helpful” hairdresser type who would do Cammy’s hair free of charge (helpful for them on their budget).  However, Cammy’s husband labeled her a “yellow light” because as he said, she was always “right on the edge” of what was appropriate.  She was always right at the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, never fully inside of it.  This bothered him.  Well, one day she came to cut Cammy’s hair, and though she knew full well what their standard was for women’s hair, she cut it much shorter than they felt was honorable to scripture.  That day she went from being a “yellow light” to being a full stop!  And no wonder.  She had been a bit of a stress point for a long time because Cammy never knew when the young lady was going to cross over the line entirely and be a real offense.  She was a weight, and in the end, it was good to put her down and move on less cumbered.

Where are you drawing the line?  I’ve seen so many women who had different standards at one time begin to slide in regards to modesty because of the friends they kept.  Women who never drank alcohol or considered it a poor testimony begin to sip a little wine with their friends “socially”, and later you learn they have become winebibbers or are visiting bars.  Women who wouldn’t have entered a casino will end up there after they start playing “games” online or with friends in private.  There are many areas of life where we can allow this to happen when we befriend and spend time with people who actually encourage us to be more “tolerant” of sin, to “relax” and “enjoy” the ways of the world.  You probably know just what I’m talking about.  You’ve seen it and/or felt it yourself.

The Apostle Paul wrote, Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;  2 Thessalonians 3:6-7

Some Christians find it extremely hard to actually go so far as to withdraw themselves from those that walk disorderly among the saints.  Some of the people who walk disorderly are so “nice” or “sweet” or “fun”.  But, as the verses in Proverbs taught us, there is good cause.  We will learn these people’s ways if we walk with them.  Trying to walk with them and not be affected will be a weight that will slow us in our race; and ultimately we will be affected – it is impossible not to be.  Amos 3:3  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Jesus Christ was a friend of sinners, but this was for the Gospel’s sake.  When someone is in the Lord’s church representing themselves as “good, godly Christians” and yet they are walking disorderly, it is only a weight to try to be friends with them.  They will drag you down and discourage you, maybe embarrass you, eventually even draw you into sin.  Remember the Lord commanded us through Paul to withdraw in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!  It is not unloving.  It is wise.  It is obedient.  It is for our good.  It is for the good of our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

The Apostle Paul also had this to say to the church at Corinth,  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat1 Corinthians 5:9-11

Other Problems

There are many other kinds of people who can drag you down and discourage you in your walk with God.  Perhaps they are constantly talking about conspiracies, perhaps they are totally immersed in politics or sports to the point of being useless on any other subject.  Perhaps they are full of vain glory or self-righteousness.  Perhaps they are constantly meddling in other people’s affairs – just regular busybodies.  As much as is possible it would be wise to avoid these people.  I know that sometimes people have relatives or others they are “stuck” with that they cannot escape.  When this is the case it might help to train yourself to lay aside the weight of their troublesomeness in your own mind even when you cannot escape them in the flesh.  Ask the Lord to help you shed their crankiness so that it doesn’t stick.  God is merciful and if your heart is toward Him, He will help you in such situations.  Sometimes one simply has to excuse oneself and go do something else for awhile if possible.

Some friends can be a weight because you don’t know where you stand with them.  They claim to be you friend but they never act like a friend.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself from someone to find out. If they care, they will notice and seek you out. If they don’t notice you know what the friendship really meant to them. But, also, if you find when you step away that you actually do better without that friendship, then probably it is time to lay it aside, or at least drop the importance of it.

The Reward

Laying aside weights has it own reward in helping us to run the race with patience.  It should be noted that often when we step away from someone who is a problem or a weight, we will find we are stepping closer to someone who is a blessing and a help.  Sometimes, to our surprise perhaps, that “someone” will turn out to be the Lord Himself.  The fact of the matter is that when we are weighed down by people who hinder us from running the race with patience, we probably haven’t been looking unto Jesus as we should either.  Weights keep us focused on self and on earthly matters.  When they are dropped it’s easier to get the focus back where it belongs.  Good friends will help you keep it there.

Nehemiah 10:28-29a  And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles…

Proverbs 18:24  A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

John 15:13-15  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sew Happy Saturday – Free Quilt Patterns

 

I’ve been sick all week, so I’m allowing myself the luxury of a really easy post today. :-)

Here are three free quilt patterns that you can download from McCall’s:

Modern Quilt Patterns

Yes, you do have to sign up for the newsletter, which was not a problem to me; and I assume you can unsubscribe easily enough later anyway.

I like the “Baubles and Beads” quilt, but especially “Lemon Squeezy”.  I don’t like the “Lemon Squeezy” in the fabrics McCall’s made it in, however.  I actually got this link from Linda at “Buzzing and Bumbling” and I liked her version of LS much better!  You can see her version here, and she got it done in 3 hours!  How great is that?!  I am sure it would take me a lot longer.  The instructions for it are quite interesting and are just the type of quilt I’d like to make. :-)  It’s a great way to use up those long, narrow scraps too.

Enjoy!