Thursday, March 7, 2013

How Do You Make a Quilt -- I Don't Sew

Don’t you just love it when God allows you to see how He has worked things out by bringing different people together at a specific time for a specific purpose? I do. Sometimes we take things for granted or call them coincidences when in actuality it’s just God doing his thing. When my mom was sick, we saw a lot of those moments. God would bring people into our lives for a specific purpose or reason, and then they would be gone. One case in particular. Lori felt led to make a quilt for mom to take to her chemo treatments. You can hang meat in some of those places. She and I talked about it and what it should look like. Did Lori know how to make a quilt? NOPE. Did I know how to sew a quilt? YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING. We came up with the idea to iron on photos of our kids onto different squares of fabric. Colors were chosen, and Lori began contemplating how to sew it. At this time Lori worked as a social worker in a nursing home here in Shreveport, and she took her swatches and the photos of the kids to work one day. One of the residents living in the apartments had taken a turn for the worse, and the family had been called in. They were going to need to transfer the patient to a different wing once the resident was doing better. A woman from the family found her way to Lori’s office. As you can imagine, this lady had a lot on her plate, but when she saw the swatches she began asking questions. This lady was a quilt-maker. She walked Lori through the process of making this quilt. I’m not even sure if the lady ever got to see the finished product because the resident’s issues resolved and the family left. That lady was put into Lori’s path to give her guidance and direction in making a quilt, a quilt that Lori had been lead or compelled to make. Don’t you just love the way God loves us?

In Acts 10, two different men have two very different visions. Cornelius who is a God-fearing, devoted, generous centurion in the Italian army has a vision during his prayer time at 3 in the afternoon. In the vision the angel tells Cornelius that his prayers and gifts to the poor have come before God, and now God wants to use Cornelius. He tells Cornelius to sent men to Joppa to bring back Peter. In verse 9 the Bible says that at about noon the next day, Peter goes to the roof about noon to pray while lunch is being prepared. While Peter is praying, he goes into a trance, and a sheet with all kinds of animals. These are animals the Jews considered unclean, and a voice told Peter to eat. Peter said no that he had never eaten anything unclean. My guess is Peter thought this was a test of some sort. Otherwise, I’m sure he wouldn’t have argued with God. This goes on for three times when the voice tells him in verse 15, Do not call anything impure that God has made clean. While Peter is pondering this vision and searching for what it means, the Spirit tells him that some men are coming for him and that Peter is to go with them. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Have you ever noticed that God gives us small bites at a time? He knows how easily we are overwhelmed and how simple we truly are. At that time the men show up from Cornelius’ home, and they tell Peter about the angel that appeared to Cornelius and that Peter must come because according to verse 22 so that he could hear what you have to say. That’s when the other shoe dropped. If you have ever taught, done public speaking, or been put on the spot at a moment’s notice to say something, you realize that the Spirit told Peter to GO. He didn’t say nothing about speaking! For some of you that would be a terrifying prospect. God gives us a little bit at a time. He prepares us for what is ahead. It’s just sometimes we don’t recognize the preparation as such.

But this is how God has been preparing Peter. First of all, he has just healed a dead woman named Tabitha. In the eyes of the Jews, this would make him unclean because she was considered unclean. Then Peter is staying with a tanner, someone who deals with dead animals – another person who is considered unclean. Now this vision with the unclean animals, birds and reptiles. Then the Gentile’s servants and soldier showing up on his doorstep. What is Peter’s next step? Ask the Gentiles into the home. All these things are leading up to a remarkable pinnacle that affects us all greatly. Do you know what it is? If not, then read Acts 10.

Here’s the thing, whatever God puts before you, he has already prepared you for and he has already prepared a way. Are you looking for God in every situation? Are you seeking him in prayer and quiet time? If not, then how in the Sam Hill will you know what to do when you reach the pinnacle? That’s not exactly the time to freak out or panic. That’s the time to act in faith.

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