I have made so many fun things with my die cut machine! I loove it! This past week I made tee shirts for our small Christian School. My vinyl had taken forever to come in, and so I had 20+ shirts to make last week- before Friday. It was a crazy week! We were wrapping up our final academic testing in the mornings, and between singing practice with the church girls, guitar lessons (from our lovely nephew), baseball games, making tee shirts and daily practice for the end of year school program, our days last week were hectic, to say the least!
Let Me Paint You a Picture
When I get up in the morning, the first thing I like to do is my morning prayer and devotion time with the Lord. I get up, put on my cushy slippers and equally cushy robe. The house is quiet, because all the sweet babies God has given me are still sleeping. I retreat out to my favorite spot on the patio. It’s on the east side of the house, so in the mornings I can see the sun rise from my perch. I love plants and flowers, and this space is my very own Garden of Eden. This is where I meet the Lord each morning. This is where I get my strength, and grace for the day. I take my Bible, and my freshly poured cup of coffee, and I read. As I read, the words come alive and He speaks to me. I see great truths and soak up the wisdom of God. Then I spend a good long time pouring my heart out before God. Now, I am ready to face the day. I hear the pitter-patter of little feet, and I know my little ones are up. So, with a bright smile gained from time spent with the Savior, I go to meet my children and start my day.
Um, actually, I don’t have any cushy slippers. Mine are all worn out. And, I think my oldest daughter has officially taken over my robe. No matter how early I resolve to get up, most days, it seems like my children set their internal alarms to be sure that they wake up the same time as me, if not earlier. I always wanted a nice outdoor retreat for my morning devotions, but we’ve recently moved and haven’t been been able to get any landscaping done. Our yard is more like a barren wasteland, than the garden that I envision. We only have one east facing window, and it’s above the bathtub in the master bath. Not exactly the best spot for bible study. Most of the time I’ m picking up laundry and pouring cereal and juice on the way to find where I left my Bible last. Then the baby needs a diaper change, and I look up and it’s mid-morning before I know it. I’m lucky if i’m dressed, and if I’ve spoken a word to the Lord, it’s been while busy doing some other task at the same time. (Some of my most precious time with the Lord has been spent at the ironing board. Really!)
Remember the verse? In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. “Sigh…”
Can I really give thanks when life is so hectic? When i’m working all the time, and there’s still a thousand things that need to be done, bills are piled up, children are constantly needing me to do something, i’m so stressed out that I cant even seem to enjoy life, can I give thanks in all that?
Yes. Not only can we give thanks for and in the hard times, but it is God’s will that we do just that.
Going Through the Heat Press
When you put a tee shirt into the heat press. The heat and pressure take the vinyl decoration you’ve cut out, and make the tee shirt and vinyl one. Voila! You have a beautiful new shirt that you didn’t have before the heat press. Similarly, precious stones are formed with thousands of pounds of pressure and very high temperatures. With the gemstones, it takes pressure and heat to get the impurities out, leaving behind only the clearest, most pure mineral that makes up the precious stones.
Malachi 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Heat and Pressure in Real Life
When God got me, I was an ugly rock. But, because he loved me he led me to a church where the Pastor is a meek, spirit filled man, who God uses to teach the Bible, so that ugly rocks can see the beautiful Savior. There at my local church, I learned how to seek God in his word, and in prayer. It is God’s will that we be conformed to his image: transformed from a rock to a gem. We don’t come that way when we first accept Jesus as our Savior. It is a process, conformed to his image, and transformed, how? By the renewing of your mind. By the washing of the water of the word. He changes our minds on some things. He washes us. He polishes us. And sometimes, the process involves heat and pressure, sometimes, gentle hands and a soft cloth. But, when he’s done, we’re not just a plain old rock anymore. We’re a rare and precious gem in the hands of the Savior.
Purification and Transformation
Proverbs 25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Think about your life. What drives you to pray? What makes you seek God? Is it the heat and pressure? Probably. Most people do not learn how to pray by coming before him with thanksgiving. Most of the time it’s falling before him in desperation, coming to know his divine grace, and then realizing thankfulness at the foot of majestic sweetness.
“He paid for your sin, so he wouldn’t have to be angry with you.” -Tim Ellis
God’s hand is specific and fine tuned. Whatever you’re going through is not coincidence. Don’t think that he’s mad at you, and that’s the reason why you’re going through what you are. “He paid for your sin, so he wouldn’t have to be angry with you.” The heat and painful pressure is not punishment, it’s refinement.
Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned
Words: Samuel Stennett, in the Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, by John Rippon (London: 1787). In the original version, titled, “The Chiefest Among Ten Thousand,” stanza 1 below was stanza 3.
Music: Ortonville, Thomas Hastings, The Manhattan Collection, 1837
Majestic sweetness sits enthroned
Upon the Savior’s brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace o’erflow,
His lips with grace o’erflow.
Its noblest tribute bring
When He’s the subject of the song,
Who can refuse to sing?
Who can refuse to sing?
Survey the beauties of His face,
And on His glories dwell;
Think of the wonders of His grace,
And all His triumphs tell,
And all His triumphs tell.
No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair
Who fill the heav’nly train,
Who fill the heav’nly train.
He saw me plunged in deep distress
And flew to my relief;
For me He bore the shameful cross
And carried all my grief,
And carried all my grief.
His hand a thousand blessings pours
Upon my guilty head:
His presence gilds my darkest hours,
And guards my sleeping bed,
And guards my sleeping bed.
To Him I owe my life and breath
And all the joys I have;
He makes me triumph over death
And saves me from the grave,
And saves me from the grave.
To Heav’n, the place of His abode,
He brings my weary feet;
Shows me the glories of my God,
And makes my joys complete,
And makes my joys complete.
Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine,
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
Lord, they should all be Thine,
Lord, they should all be Thine.
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