Dear Beth:

Beth,
I bought my ticket for the individual simulcast to Living Proof Live about a month ago, marked my calendar, turned down some special event invitations and planned to sit in my sewing loft to listen to you speak. I thought about quilting while I listened. It didn’t happen as I planned. I had to run to town, help my brother out a little, get some groceries and then spend 3 hours…you heard that right!….3 hours cleaning my kitchen.  It was 3 o’clock by then and I was so tired.  Then some friends invited their friends over to my house and we had a mini-quilt show.  We sat on the porch and shared memories and listened to the band get ready for the show tonight at my brother’s campground.

Finally I sat before my computer and tuned into the simulcast.  I printed out some pages for taking notes, read all the devotions in the PDF file for the program and read John 10 as instructed.  I got my purple pen ready, labeled my sheets of notes and hit the start button.

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With the first note I took, my pen quite working.  I had to stop and find another pen (my kids will laugh at how difficult this was since I could be on Horders because of all the pens I have).  Finally found another perfect pen.

Then I got hungry.

Really, could Satan attack any more?

Ken came in and wanted to know if we were going out to dinner.  NO!

Finally…again…I sat before my computer and tuned into the simulcast.

It’s now 8:31 pm and I just finished listening to session 1 of the event. I sat glued to my computer screen entire time. You have no idea how God has been preparing me for tonight. If you scan the blog posts between today and one from August 14th, you will see exactly how God prepared me for your lesson today. I can’t wait for the next sessions!  Not sure if I can get them in tonight, but the anticipation is great.

You spoke on Lydia, Acts 16!  Satan didn’t want me to hear your lesson tonight, but God did and He’s stronger then any time schedule, empty pen or hungry husband.

One who heard us was a woman from  Pinewood, TN named Deborah Boutwell, an office worker, quilter, wife, mother.  The Lord opened her heart to respond.

Blessed is SHE who believed!

Thank you for your message tonight.  I am a woman of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ, loved, pursued, and chosen, equipped with words of life, clothed in strength and dignity, commissioned here and now, gifted by the Spirit, forgiven and unbound.  Thank you for reminding me of that.

Your sister in Christ,

Deborah

Her Words to Him

I’d like to introduce you to my brother, James Lewis (if you don’t already know him).  This morning he posted on Facebook the following post and I’ve decided to share it here for all to see.  Please share this with your friends.  It’s such a beautiful example of the power of praying parents.

James, Anita, & Luke 2014James, Anita, & Luke

This probably needs to be on my sister’s blog, just didn’t know how to put it there. I am writing this for me, more than anyone else. However, I know it will apply to so many that had Godly, praying parents and grandparents. I hope reading this helps you as much as writing this helped me. (read Deborah’s Blog first)
Thanks Deborah for sharing your blog. So many times it is just what I needed to hear for the day.
Boy, did I need this, this morning. It has a spiritual message but this morning, it spoke to me in a earthly message.
Our parents set a very high standard for us kids. So many times I let them down and disappointed them. Here is the words from a letter Mom wrote me in January of 2003. (I assume Mom and Dad were out west on vacation) The letter starts out:

“I once covered you with a blanket, but now I cover you with a prayer”……I heard the song you were talking about the other day by Blake Shelton, The Baby. You may be my oldest, but you are my first baby boy and have been my strength through the years. You and your family are in my prayers everyday. One of my deepest heart felt prayers for you is that you and Anita, will come back to God’s House more than you do. I know you have to work weekends, but James Jr. you need to be a strong father and witness for Michael and Jonathan and their families by being in God’s House, and you know this better than I. We all need to draw close to God at all times. My love for you is so deep.
So deep.
See you in a month,
Mom.

Eight years later, in January 2011, on Mom’s death bed, in our time alone, she expressed the very same thoughts to me. But then went on to express just how deep her love was for me.

Even though, I had not lived the high standard she had set for me, She still loved me, prayed for me, and was there for me until the end.

Just as God is……

My prayer is that my kids know that I am praying for them, and love them, and will be here for them until the end.

Just as Mom was……… Just as God is.

1-15-2011 10;26;09 PM2Mom and James

James & Daddy 2014

Daddy & James

James 2013 (2)

James Jr.

Most all my family, family friends, church family, and neighbors have always called me James Jr.  As I have gotten older, some have dropped the Jr…….

Just so everyone knows, I count it a honor to be called James Jr.

I’m Not Good Enough

God commands us to be holy, set apart from worldly things, perfect, like Jesus.  I know many people who try to follow this command and few who succeed completely.  The truth is, we’ll never be good enough in our own eyes.  That’s why we have to see ourselves through God’s eyes, because His vision is filtered by Jesus standing in front of us.

God looks at us and sees Jesus.

It’s like looking at the sun shining through the clouds.  Its beautiful with the naked eye, but when you put your sunglasses on, you can almost see each ray of sunshine and then it’s spectacular!

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God sees us as spectacular and we see ourselves as not good enough.

I guess that is why I like the study of Matthew 1:1-17.  It’s a list of people who weren’t good enough and yet God did something great through them.

I’m not good enough to be used by God because I had multiple sexual partners, I have an STD, I’ve had an abortion, I’ve cheated on my husband, I’ve gotten a divorce, I’ve been in prison, I’ve been addicted, I’ve stolen & lied, I’ve killed, I have tattoos, I have piercing, I have purple hair, I have a eating disorder, I have….and the list goes on and on.  We see our sin and label ourselves as useless and God forgives our sins and labels us as His, ready to be used for His purpose.

That list of names, family members of Jesus Christ, includes prostitutes, murderers, liars, cheaters, adulterous, bigamist, evil, unrighteous people.  And through those people God brought the Savior of the world.

God can use anyone with any background.  God sees you as spectacular!

We aren’t good enough, but Jesus is and that is enough!

 

Who’s Your Daddy?

I grew up in a small town where you either knew every body or you were related to them.  My husband was an out-of-towner and was not accepted as quickly into the fold as someone that could trace their family line back several generations.  We found this out when we took out a small farm loan right after we were married.  (clarification:  his mother was from the same small town, but had left, married, and lived away for many years)

Ken was so excited to buy some cows and play at being a farmer on a small-scale.  He went to the farmers bureau and talked with the loan officer and did all the tons of paperwork required to get the ball rolling.  Finally came the day when they approval our loan and we had to sign the papers.  This was the first time that I had been with him to any of their meetings.

As I walked in, I said hello to the loan officer and he looked at Ken and said, “Why didn’t you tell me who you were married to?  This whole process would have been much easier.”  I knew the loan officer, we grew up together, but more importantly, he knew my daddy.

Many of us have a past we would like to forget, events or people that we want to ignore, yet we can’t.  Our past, our family’s past, affects us in the now.  When getting to know someone, part of acquainting ourselves with them is to find out about their past, who their parents were, where they were raised, and how they were raised.  You really don’t have a deep friendship with someone without knowing these things.

“A friend is a person who knows all about you and still likes you.” – Iva Lewis

Others have known us since birth, and being so familiar, just take for granted what they know and basically just forget about it, pass it off as unimportant, that “common knowledge” that every body knows so you don’t ever have to talk about it.

I sometimes think that is where I’m at in my relationship with Jesus.  I’ve known Him my entire life, I’ve known all about His family, so familiar am I with their stories that I don’t even pay attention to them anymore.  Have I taken them for granted, forgotten their importance in the story of Jesus?

In a previous post, I asked how you become acquainted with Jesus or were introduced to Jesus?

For the most part, I bet it was from the Christmas story.  It’s an easy starting place.  Everybody loves a good baby story.  You probably learned about Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and maybe his cousin, John.  You might even have learned that Jesus’ great(+)grandfather was King David, which you were familiar with because of the David and Goliath story.

But what about the rest of his family, what about Matthew 1:1-17 or Luke 3:23-38?  Did you ever truly study those names and put them into perspective of God’s plan for mankind?

If you are reading along with me and answering any of the questions (in your head or on paper), from that previous post, I asked you to draw off Noah’s family tree and see which one which one Abraham’s family came from.

Answer:  Shem

In this family line, there are a few key names that play a huge part in the story of the Jews and Israel.

Abraham – Isaac – Jacob

God made a promise with each of these men, a promise that continued down through the different generations.  God’s promises are called covenants.

Genesis 12 – God promises that He will make Abraham a great nation, that every person on earth would be blessed through him (Abraham).

Genesis 15 – God promises Abraham that the land where he has settled with be his land and that his offspring will be too many to count, like the stars.

Genesis 26 – God reaffirms His promises with Isaac, Abraham’s son.

Genesis 35 – God again reaffirms His promises, this time to Jacob, Isaac’s son. God also promises that kings will descend from his family.  God gives Jacob a new name, Israel.

By choosing this family line to bring about His plan, God uses them as an example to each other and to other nations and for us today.  The families of Israel, later called Jews, were called God’s chosen people.  That doesn’t mean that God only loved them.  God loved everyone.  But He was going to use them to show how everyone, including these chosen needed a Redeemer, a Savior.

Jacob had 12 sons (and the story of how those sons came about is better than any daytime soap opera!).  They were called the 12 tribes of Israel and when Jacob was dying he blessed or foretold what would happen to each son and their family.  When they settled in what is now called the land of Israel, where each family settled was called by their names.

Reuben – Simeon – Levi – Judah – Issachar – Zebulun – Gad – Asher – Joseph – Benjamin – Dan – Naphtali

TribesA couple of things to keep in mind.  The family of Levi was given no land allotment.  They were to be priests, in charge of the Tabernacle/Temple.  Joseph had two sons, and his land was divided between the two of them and named after them, Manasseh & Ephraim.

Now read Matthew 1:1-3.  Which one of Jacob’s sons did Jesus’ family line come from?

For extra points:  What did that son’s name mean?  See Genesis 29:35

I’m still in the first few chapters of Matthew in my reading.  Next we’ll focus on prophecies and what the prophets foretold.

What do you think of family blessings?  Would you feel “blessed” if you were told that your children would be enslaved for 400 years or that they would be people of war?

How important is the meaning of names today?  What does your name mean?

WORDsearchBible – Guest Post

I’ve got a guest post over at WORDsearchBible.com today.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

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WORDsearch is a great on-tool in Bible study.  They have software you can download to your computer to help in study and comparing different translations, side by side.  The have tons of ebooks that you can open to your computer at their site or at MyStudyBible.com, commentaries and dictionaries, all kinds of resources to aid in your study. Start with the free stuff and then build your library.

I’m using the Bible Land Map Set right now in my own personal study.  You don’t have to be a preacher or teacher to want to dig deeper into the Word for more understanding.

Knowing Jesus, Backwards & Forwards

How were you introduced to Jesus? (Seriously, leave a comment and tell me!)

I would imagine for the most part, some of us don’t even remember.

He was a name spoken at the dinner table, a holiday celebrated with new clothes and presents.  He was a Bible story read each night before bed and on Sunday mornings in church.  He was a nativity scene figurine or a felt story board character.  He was a song sung, a Bible verse memorized.

He was a cuss word, slang words used in moments of frustrations, anger, or fear.

No matter what age you were when you first heard His name, in the true sense of who He is, there had to a starting point where He was explained to you.  The easiest place to start is at His birth, at His earthly beginning.  The problem is, Jesus had no beginning.

He said that He was the Alpha and the Omega, from everlasting to everlasting, no beginning, no ending.  But for someone just learning about Jesus, that is hard to grasp since we think in terms of everything having a starting point (birth) and an ending point (death).

Two books of the New Testament tell about Jesus’ earthly beginning, Matthew and Luke.

Matthew 1 starts with Jesus’ physical lineage, from Abraham to Joseph & Mary.  Luke 3 starts with Joseph and takes Jesus’ lineage all the way back to God, through Adam.  Forward from Abraham, backwards to God.

Seems to me, God is saying He wants us to know Jesus backwards & forwards.

When you study the Christmas story (usually in December), do you skip over those first 17 verses of Matthew?  I think I did, just kind of skimmed the names since I couldn’t pronounce them anyway.  I might have highlighted those names that I was familiar with, especially the few women that are mentioned.

So we skip over all those names and get to the angels and a young woman chosen by God to bare His Son and a father that is between a rock and a hard place.

That’s a much better story, right?

But if God inspired both Matthew and Luke to list the earthly lineage of Jesus, shouldn’t we pay attention to that too?

Of course that means a study of the Old Testament!

I can hear the groans now.

The book of Matthew was written by, you guessed it, Matthew.  He wrote specifically to the Jews, explaining to them that Jesus was the Messiah they had been looking for.

2 questions right off the bat:

  1. Who are the Jews, what makes them so special?
  2. Who was the Messiah and why were they looking for Him?

Yeah, that was 4 questions.  That’s the thing about Bible study, one question leads to about 10 more.

Something else mentioned in Matthew 1, repeated often throughout the New Testament, is the phrase worded “this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet”.

Jesus fulfills prophecies of the Old Testament.  Which brings up another question, what is a prophecy?  Are there still prophecies to be fulfilled?

See how that works, 1 question, then 10 more?

As I study the life and ministry of Jesus, I plan to start at this basic starting point:

Jesus was the Messiah, come to save the Jews.

Who were the Jews?

You are welcome to study along with me.  I have no set plan, I’m just reading the Bible, looking at references, connecting the dots that make up the image of Jesus.

Here’s what I know:  the Earth had two beginnings, 1) Adam, 2)Noah.  The first 9 chapters of Genesis covers this.  Genesis 10-11 tell the story of the resettling of Earth and starts the story of Abraham.  If Abraham is the first man listed in Jesus earthly lineage, that is a great place to start.

Pull out some paper, draw off the family tree from Noah and his three sons.  Which son did Abraham’s family come from?  2 sons were given a blessing and one was cursed.  Where did the cursed son settle?

Pull out an atlas and locate Babylon and Ur.  Mark the places where families settled.  Look at a modern map and notice the nations and countries that are settled in these areas today.

m16tablenations_revThis may seem like a useless exercise for some, but if you watch the news today, all the struggles go back to this very beginning.  So, for me, this is a good place to start learning more about Jesus than just want I was taught in Sunday School as a kid.  Time for me to dig for myself, make my own notes, charts and maps.

Yo – Yo

Mom “borrowed” this tablecloth from her mother and I “borrowed” it from her.  And I’m pretty sure Grannie “borrowed” it from her mother.

At least, that’s what we each claimed!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI’m amazed every time I look at it.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAEach yo-yo is stitched together to make this bed-spread or tablecloth.  We’ve always “borrowed” it to us as a tablecloth.  It’ just now beginning to have a few of the yo-yo’s come un-stitched.   It’s in perfect condition.  We do take care of things we borrow.

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This is the back of the spread showing all those wonderful, vintage fabrics.

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I thought I would add some yo-yo’s to my Flower Basket quilt and here’s how I made them

How to make a Yo-Yo:

Using a standard Mason-jar lid (about a 3 in circumference), I drew off circles on the back side of the fabric.  This will make about a 1 -1/2 inch yo-yo.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI cut these out on the lines.

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Then I knotted my thread and turning under a seam of about 1/4 inch, I stitched a running stitch and then drew the thread up, gathering the circle.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAPulling the thread tightly and gathering the circle, I tied a double knot to secure the gather.  I ran the thread down through the yo-yo and left the thread loose to use later to secure it onto my applique or (like in the spread above) attach to another yo-yo.

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For my project, I used three colors and arranged in the above order.

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Now comes the fun part of appliqueing all of these down and adding embroidery to embellish.

Here’s my finished and in-progress flower pots.  I’ve also added yo-yo’s as the center of some of the flowers.  Sometimes I turn them with the back showing to give the block some dimension.

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