Monday, March 25, 2013

What does love look like?

Jesusknowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”  Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” John 13:3-8

I love this passage in John 13. This passage alone shows not only what it means to be a Christian, but what we need to allow to be one. Jesus washing the feet of His disciples, doing work that is considered servants and below His status, because He wanted to teach the disciples another lesson. Even knowing His time to die was near, He took time to show humility and love.

How does washing someones feet show love?

Well, you know how your feet look when you walk on a dirt path in the Summer barefoot? Imagine that, but worse. Feet so dust covered from walking everywhere in sandals that probably didn't cover the whole foot that just swirling them around in water would only make the dirt stick more to the feet instead of cleaning them. This is the type of cleaning that is not just gently wiping off the dust, but actually scrubbing off the dust to make the feet clean. I don't know about you, but I don't like to clean off dusty anything from someone. For me it is a true act of love to wash off my nephews hands, legs, and arms when he comes in the house during the warm months after playing in the dirt.

It's an act of putting someone else's need before your own not because it's your duty or job, but because you love them. That's what we are to do as Christians, that is what people should see in us-that we are willing to put ourselves aside to take care of a need of someone else...willingly. When people get curious enough, then we can tell them the core of our love for others is rooted in Jesus.

The other thing this symbolizes is how Jesus washes away our sins. for we need to be washed in Jesus to have our sins forgiven and be a part of Jesus, one of the joint heirs with Jesus.

Love: putting others needs ahead of yours. That's what Jesus did not only with washing the feet of His disciples, but with washing us free of our sin.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Hope that does not Disappoint

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:1-5
Have you ever read, really read Romans 5:1-5? I love the progression in these verses. This passage starts off with peace with God, and ends with hope. Just the first two verses of Romans 5 alone show that the chasm between God an man has been bridged: through Jesus, by our faith into His grace. Hope comes next. Hope in the glory of God. Our hope for our future. But we don't live in the future, we live in the present. Before we have the glory of God, we live here, work here, play here, celebrate here, and even suffer here. This is where the progression of this passage is great-for we still have hope!

We will suffer, yes, but we can exult in our trials and tribulation. What happens when we "exult in our tribulations" we begin the progression that ends in hope. Hard times teach us to overcome. Overcoming shows our character as a Christian, it proves who we are. Our character gives hope. Hope to not just us, but to those around us who see this progression lived out. And do you know what hope doesn't do? Hope does not disappoint. Our hope, when properly placed in Jesus, will not disappoint us. It won't disappoint us because of the Holy Spirit. Verse 5 states that "the love of God has been poured out within our hearts". God's love is in us already because of the grace we have through Jesus, which is our hope, and hope does not disappoint.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Prayers Squared: Castle Wall

Castle Wall

Size: 6” square
Hook: I/9 5.50 mm
Yarn: Worsted Weight TLC
Special stitches:
Puff st (puff): (yo, insert hook in st (or sp) indicated, yo pull up a loop) three times, yo pull through all 7 loops on hook, ch 1 to close

Pattern notes: if you are using a lighter weight yarn, you may have to fortify the castle wall by repeating rnd 5 until you have a large enough square to make 6” with rnd 6

Rnd 1: Ch 4, 11 dc in 4th ch from hook (starting ch 3 counts as first dc now and throughout), sl st to top of ch3. 12 dc

Rnd 2: Ch 3, dc in same st, 2 dc in each st around. 24 dc

Rnd 3: Ch 1, (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in same st, *sc in next 5 st**, (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc) in next st*, work from * to * three times and to ** once more, sl st to first sc. 36 sc, 4 ch2 sp

Rnd 4: Sl st to ch2 sp, ch 3 (dc, ch2, 2dc) in ch 2 sp *(sk next st, puff in next st) to last st before corner, sk last st,** (2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch2 sp*, work from * to * three times and to ** once more, sl st to top of ch3. 16 dc, 16 puffs 4 ch-2 sps

Rnd 5: Sl st to corner ch2 sp, ch 3 (dc, ch2, 2dc) in same sp, *ch1, sk 2 st, puff between dc and puff, puff between each puff until last puff before corner, puff between last puff and next dc, ch1** (2dc, ch2, 2 dc) in ch 2 sp*, work from * to * three times and to ** once more, sl st to top of ch3. 16 dc, 20 puffs, 8 ch1 sp, 4 ch-2 sps

Rnd 6: Ch 2, hdc in next st *(2 hdc, ch1, 2 hdc) in ch-2 sp, hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in ch 1 sp, hdc in top of and in between each puff, 2 hdc in ch1 sp,** hdc in next 2 st*, work from * to *  three times and to ** once more, sl st to top of ch2. 80 hdc, 4 ch1 sp
FO and weave in ends.

© Copyright February 2013 by JM Jones, all rights reserved. This pattern, in whole or part, may not be reproduced – mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying—without the written permission of JM Jones. Projects made from this pattern may be gifted, swapped or sold. If you use this pattern to sell items on the internet, kindly credit JM Jones as the designer.

Thanks to my testers Carmen, Ryan Nichole and Brenda

A Bulwark Never Failing

Have you ever heard of a Bulwark? Martin Luther wrote in his song “A mighty fortress is our God” that God is a “bulwark never failing”. A bulwark is part of a fortress or a castle. It's a wall that's built up to protect. It's a rampart. God is a bulwark for us. Over and over again in the Bible, especially the Psalms we are told that God is our strength, our stronghold, our refuge. He is our protection. Proverbs 18:10 states:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Even God's name is a bulwark, our protection. This is not the only place in the scriptures where God is called our protection. Psalm 62:1-2,5-8 tell us:

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken...
My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us

My hope is in God, I will not be shaken for He is my refuge (protection, shelter). HE IS MY ROCK! I can anchor myself in Him and not be greatly shaken. We can “pour out our hearts to Him” for He will protect us. How comforting this is. How encouraging to know even when we feel alone, God is our strength and protection.

God, in her palaces,
Has made Himself known as a stronghold.
Psalm 48:3

Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.
Psalm 61:1-3

Take heart, we have our protection.