‘Master’ Quilter [v176]

OCTOBER 2013

‘Master’ Quilter

Just last weekend, a “good friend” and I went to a once-a-year ‘event’ in Grand Rapids, Michigan, called “Art Prize.” It is an independently organized international art competition with an unprecedented $200,000 top prize—decided entirely by public vote.

For 19 days, three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, become an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Art from all around the world pops up in every inch of downtown—and it’s all free and open to the public. It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.

The grand prize winner this year was a quilt of the Lake Michigan shoreline titled, “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.” It consists of four individual panels depicting a beach scene which all connect into one large panoramic view—capturing a beautiful Lake Michigan sunset, sparkling water, dune grass in the breeze, majestic birch trees with Sleeping Bear Dunes in the distance. The 20 foot wide by 5 foot high piece incorporates traditional cotton and batik fabrics along with other fibers including linen, silk, yarns, polyester netting and angelina fiber for added texture. Techniques also include raw edge fusible applique and free-motion machine quilting.
[http://www.artprize.org/ann-loveless/2013/sleeping-bear-dune-lakeshore ].

[ FYI: See the Top 10 entries at “Art Prize”:
http://www.artprize.org/entries/?promoted=top-10 ].

[ Here’s a bunch of pics I took wandering around town showing the variety of art that was on display:
https://plus.google.com/photos/115982097083209124200/albums/5932015937544048897 ].


I could somewhat appreciate the tremendous talent and effort that went into creating the “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore” quilt, since my grandmother was a “master quilter,” and I saw the effort she put into her quilts—and they were no were near the size and complexity of this one.

But what I do remember seeing most of the time when she was working on it, was a mess of knots and loose ends hanging out all over. It is very unattractive, and seemed not to have any rhyme, reason or pattern. I was, of course, looking at the ‘back’. But, when she was done with it and turned it over, that’s when I saw the beautiful pattern or image.


Our lives are kind of like a quilt—and we only see the ‘back side’ of it while alive here on earth. Most of the time we don’t understand why a lot of things happen to us, and when they happen. But there is Someone that ‘sees’ the other side all the time—God—and He is ‘expertly’ weaving together each strand and ‘panel’ to form a beautiful ‘creation’—for those who have put their ‘trust’ in Him.


In the Bible, the prophet Jeremiah said, “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the LORD’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” [Jeremiah 29:11-13]. The prophet Isaiah added to this by saying: “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” [Isaiah 64:8].


We live with a ‘limited’ understanding of the things of God, yet there is a day coming when we will know and understand all things. So, in the hard times when you cannot ‘see His hand’, let me encourage you to trust His love for you—and know for certain that He has not forsaken you: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” [1 Corinthians 13:12].

For now, we are told that when we place our trust in His Son, Jesus, we are ‘given’ the Holy Spirit—Who will help us be ‘strong’ through our tribulations, and ‘craft’ us into “new creation”: “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” [2 Corinthains 5:17].


When you seem to have no strength of your own, the Bible tells us that this when you can most fully rest in God’s ‘presence’: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” [2 Corinthians 12:9-10].

So, no matter how difficult life is, know that God is gracious, and will be ‘there’ for you—to ‘rescue’, provide hope, and to fulfill His ‘plan’ for you—if you let Him! Every life is valuable to God since we were “made in His image.”


The idea of God as quilter is not original with me. One poet wrote:

I think God is a quilter
who, with needle and thread,
pieces our world from nothingness
and gives it form instead.

I think we see God’s perfect stitches,
textured everywhere:
in velvet moss, and grainy sand,
in silky strands of hair.

I think God cuts the pattern
from stuff we’d throw away,
and shows us how to use each scrap
in God’s own redeeming way.

I think quilts paint the lessons
God uses just to teach
that our pieces and our remnants
have kaleidoscopic reach.

So, in the life we’re living,
odd pieces everywhere,
let’s give them to the Quilter
to work into a masterpiece
with extra-loving care.
[Author unknown]


So here we are, odd ‘pieces’ of God’s ‘quilt’ of our lives—containing our needs, hopes, and dreams—all with a variety of ‘shapes’. Some patches light, and some patches are dark—but every one of them is needed to create contrast and ‘interest’. Some patches new, and some patches are old—though every one essential to the beauty of the whole. The shape of our individual pieces is determined by choices we make, and what we have created out of this life that God has given us.

Sometimes there seems to be no apparent pattern to our ‘quilt’—rather it seems to be a tangled mess of unrelated colors, loose ends, and unravelled knots. But, be patient—God is not ‘done’ with ‘it’ (you) yet! Though He may seem to be ‘hiding’ from you from time to time, He is working—‘positioning’ the proper ‘pieces’ to be connected perfectly. Be assured, you can trust God for His quilting ‘capabilities’!


Just as my grandmother had a ‘plan’ when she created her quilts, God has a plan for your life. He is the ‘Master Quilter’. All you have to do is just GIVE YOUR LIFE TO HIM, and He will take all the ‘bits and pieces’ of your life and make them into a masterpiece!


[ Excerpts from: Reverend Joyce Kelly; Pastor Bill Pomerhn; ]

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about how we are “made in God’s image”, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q5_d4_1of10.html


LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v176) for OCTOBER 2013

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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QUILT OF HOLES
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each  square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in every day life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened.

My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, and wealth, and false accusations that took from me my world, as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Fatherin hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.

An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image—the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.

Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you. “Welcome Home My Child”

May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through.
[Author unknown]

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GOD’S TAPESTRY
Trials and tribulation in this life, is mentioned to us by Jesus Christ,
Bringing to us pain in many ways, as we live out these earthly days.
Reasons for many we don’t know; purpose in Glory God will show,
How our trials were used by God, upon the temporal paths we trod.

For all of our lives is a tapestry, weaved in Glory where all will see,
But from this darkened underside, from all of our eyes it does hide.
We just see the darker threads, weaving throughout our life instead.
And through all the pain and sorrow, we look to a brighter tomorrow.

Through the sometimes dark fray, God’s Mercies are new each day,
And we have assurance in The Lord; by who our trial is not ignored.
For Christ suffered, like you and I, but to the point where He did die.
Christ died for us, there’s no denial, and God can help us in our trial.

Though Christ died for you and me, He reigns in Heaven for Eternity.
This world’s not at all like the one, being prepared for us by The Son.
When Christ’s Glory is revealed, all believers will be perfectly healed,
Totally free of our besetting sin, with a perfect heart when we enter in.

Every eye, now above will see, The Lord’s Glorious Eternal Tapestry,
Looking down the corridor of time, we’ll now see life with God’s mind.
We’ll see how our lives were weaved, with others who also believed,
When we see all Christ has done, through the Tapestry of God’s Son.
[Bob Gotti]

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MAKING MEMORIES
I’m not a quilter, but I am fortunate to belong to a family who has two master quilters. I have learned much about quilts from them, and I realize one of the things which makes quilts beautiful is the selection of colors. A quilt begins with the selection of both light and dark colors. This is much like creating memories in a family—there must be memories tied to joyous and sad times. The holiday season provides families, especially pastoral families, with opportunities to create memories in their quilt of traditions—an heirloom to pass down to future generations.

Our society today seeks to convince us that memories can only be created with an outpouring of funds. We see the commercials for a week at a resort or a cruiseship or… the reality is few families have the resources for such activities, and they are usually concepts in the pastoral family budget. Memories, like stitches in a quilt, can be created with thought, and they do not have to be pricey! One of the most valuable stitches in the family memory quilt can be time. The intentional gift of time in the pastoral home means far more to its members than gifts money can buy. The holidays seem to increase the “musts” of the pastoral family: additional church services, more company and more visits to make! How does the pastoral family make certain they are family?

Memories are created because there is a plan! When we consider the Thanksgiving holiday, for instance, memories are created with food as the focal point. I remember teaching a college class; and as we talked about traditions, my students began to list what would be on the menu for the meal. They associated their memories with the food and the time spent around the table sharing stories and laughter. The students’ greatest appreciation was the opportunity to sit and share across generations and to have the time to do so.

Pastoral families have to be cautious with being so busy taking care of the needs of others that they fail to family themselves! Holidays are the time when it is important to give the gift of intentional time for the members of their family. Meals should be times to enjoy one another and share the joy of being together. Many of the deep, spiritual concepts preached from the pulpit are applied in the home. If the time and intention is not taken to create memories in the pastoral home, our children have no real foundation for their launch into the world. Scripture reminds us in Psalms 127:1: ”If God doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks” (The Message).

Creating memories takes as much thought as making a quilt. Thought goes into the selection of the fabrics and thread long before the completion of the quilt. Pastoral families who want to have memories of their time together have to make certain they are providing the materials, time and intention to create their memories.
[Author unknown]

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CONVICTION
[In the Bible], the “conviction of things not seen” is the substance of faith. It is the attention to those spiritual realities that are the true substance behind the circumstances of our daily lives. The conviction of faith is the ability to see in the disparate threads of our lives a beautiful garment, a useful quilt, or a magnificent tapestry. The conviction of faith is the ability to see beyond the finite to the infinite–in much the same way as physicists have discovered the infinite world of sub-atomic particles. Those invisible particles provide the essential structure for what we see all around us.

In the classic story The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery writes of a little fox who promises to reveal the secret of life to the young boy in the story. When the secret is finally revealed it is this: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Likewise, faith sees with the heart what cannot be seen with the eye. It is the conviction of spiritual truths that give substance to the shadow of our reality.
[Margaret Manning]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Our lives are like quilts—bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.”
[Author unknown]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” [Jeremiah 29:11].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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2 Responses to “‘Master’ Quilter [v176]”

  1. Paul Lancaster Says:

    This will not allow me to print it

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