Devotion for the Week...
He gave it to me saying, "You may already know everything in here." It is a beautiful, thick book with lots of pictures, so I couldn't wait to sit down with it. I used one of the patterns to make placemats for my mother and mother-in-law for Christmas that year.
Quilting is a fantastic hobby, in part because I'll never know everything. There will always be designers coming up with new quilts. People will find solutions to common problems and others will think up faster ways to cut and piece traditional patterns. While I know how to thread my machine, sew a 1/4" seam and quilt by hand or machine, I certainly don't know it all yet.
Like quilting, the Bible is so rich there will always be more for me to learn.
Paul told Timothy to "Do [his] best to present [himself] to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15) Correctly handling the word of truth requires more than listening to sermons and then repeating what you have heard. How can you know a pastor's interpretation of a verse is correct if you've never studied that verse on your own?
There are times I read a familiar passage of Scripture and notice a new perspective or a phrase that adds to my understanding. For example, the story of Jesus using five loaves and two fish to feed a crowd of five thousand men, plus women and children, is certainly familiar. But one day I realized the young boy who offered his lunch was very selfless, which means someone (probably his mother!) taught him to share. That gave me a lot of encouragement as I worked on teaching my own boys the basics of sharing and caring about others.
The psalmist wrote, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103) Even more than quilt magazines, the Bible is enlightening and encouraging. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't come with sumptuous photographs to draw my eyes and it's often harder to understand then the average quilt pattern. Reading, and especially studying, takes more mental energy than does flipping through a magazine. That means I sometimes opt for the magazine, even when I've been neglecting my Bible reading.
The writer of Hebrews wrote, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) The more often I study the living word of God, the better I will know the nature of God and the better I will understand how to live as a Christian. Both are well worth my time and energy.
I once heard Liz Curtis Higgs speak at a conference. She said she can't wait to dig into her Bible with the women in her study group. Curtis Higgs has sold millions of Bible study books designed to help women learn more about the women found in God's word. Yet, even tough she teaches others, she doesn't feel she knows all there is to know about the Bible.
I love learning from quilt magazines and books. I'm sure you do too. I pray we would have a similar enthusiasm for God's word. Patterns and tips will make us better quilters, but the Bible will make us better Christians.