Topics: Life Observations, Christianity
My uncle just passed away Friday night. Although we were not blood related, we were fairly close.
I'm trying to be sad, but I can't be. I am happy.
Let me explain.
My uncle had cancer and he was always in pain. For most of that time he could still function - he could still travel the world and teach - but it was somewhat difficult.
Near the end, things made a quick escalation and his condition became terrible. He even lost use of his legs.
We all wanted him to get better, and now he has. He feels good again.
Now I can't help but frequently think of that and what his reaction must be meeting God.
There is some debate on if we meet God immediately after death or wait until the rapture, but does it matter? My mind automatically thinks about my uncle's intense joy, excitement, and wonder. As MercyMe's very good song says, "I Can Only Imagine" what that must be like.
And that gives me joy.
- James D. McIntosh Jr.
My Mother's Quilts is a devotional written Ramona Richards and published by Worthy Publishing. Each chapter of it features one of the quilts Richards's mother made and/or owned.
Each chapter, of which there are about 60 that are each about 3 small pages in length, also contains a story about the featured quilt from the life of Richards or one of her family members. This story is in turn connected to a Bible verse, a lesson/thought, and a prayer.
It all feels like it is mostly aimed towards women, but men can read and enjoy it as well.
If you are a person who has a fondness or respect for history, antiques, heritage, creativity, beauty, and/or faith, My Mother's Quilts is a book you could enjoy.
This book demonstrates a deep respect for hard work, family ties, responsibility, faith, beauty, and even physical warmth. It all jumps off the page and penetrates the reader.
Not to mention I learned a lot about what it takes to quilt and developed as respect and admiration for quilting.
Furthermore, each chapter has at least one photo of the featured quilt, and the colors, patterns, and settings are wonderful and very relaxing to look at. The visuals alone can help lift your spirits.
But the visuals are not all that is in this book. The way Richards tries to tie each quilt into a family story - which can be funny, touching, sad, and/or interesting - and a spiritual thought is encouraging and refreshing. Although the chapters are short, Richards occasionally gets across a really deep thought that can cause you to stop and think.
There are very often times in My Mother's Quilts when a chapter's verse, story, and lesson feel forced together. Sometimes it is difficult to even see any connection whatsoever.
Although it is nice to see someone putting a spiritual spin on life and items, this flaw can be somewhat distracting.
Additionally, there is occasionally an element of pride in the book. There are a couple points when Richards talks about showing off quilts to friends and family and basking in the praise and feeling proud.
Unlike the forced connections, this is not a strong element. The occasions of it are few and far between, but they are still there.
Although this book clearly has its flaws, it is still well worth the read. It is not an overall deep book that should be read completely on its own, but it still very good.
When you are feeling down, this book can be uplifting and provide some good encouragements and considerations.
- James D. McIntosh Jr.
Win one of the quilts featured in #MyMothersQuilts by Ramona Richards. Also up for grabs: loads of other prizes including quilting hand warmers, coloring books, and 25 signed copies of Ramona's book. Winners will be emailed after the contest ends on June 30, 2016. Click the image to get started!
Matthew 5 has a lot of wisdom in it. Among other things, it tells us that those who are persecuted shall be blessed, we should not murder or even speak or think evil things against others, and we should love and pray for our enemies.
One of the more famous passages is probably this one:
"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also." (Matthew 5:38-40 NKJV)
Does all this mean that if someone attacks on us on the street, we should let them do whatever the will to us? I do not believe so.
A slap on the cheek is not the same as, say, a stab wound to the stomach or many other things you may be able to think of. After all, the Bible also says:
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV)
How do we take care of our temple? Well, for one thing, we try to keep ourselves healthy and fit. For another, we prevent dangerous people from destroying the temple.
Additionally, it is said:
Then He [Jesus] said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." (Luke 22:36 NKJV)
Two are better than one, [...] Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9a, 12)
GotQuestons.org also brings up the case of a thief breaking into a house in Exodus 22:2-3. (Another interesting read is Biblical Self-Defense.)
So obviously there are times when we must fight back. King David did. But fighting in anger and with hatred is not the same. We protect our temple and other people and cause as little damage as possible. We still need to love.
(All scripture retrieved from BibleGateway.com, who in turn says: "Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.")
- James D. McIntosh Jr.
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