Tuesday’s Gift…

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Tuesday’s Gift in celebration of His Truth, My Voice’s second birthday is a return visit to the reflection,

“Of Trees and Tapestries…”    

Tapestry

A Beautiful Example of a Tapestry

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spiritthat they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Try to imagine with me, if you can, what human history might look like to God, as He surveys it from beginning to end.  From the prophetic insight given to us by Isaiah in the passage above, it seems quite likely that God would view it as a forest of trees, one stretching all the way from the Garden of Eden to the coming Paradise in the new Heaven and Earth; trees which, in His eyes, are representative of the countless lives of men and women throughout history who have been made righteous by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.  As plantings of God, they have come in every size and shade imaginable, yet they have all produced the same desired fruit of holiness by which the Lord God, the creator and sustainer of all the earth, will forever be glorified!  What a truly satisfying picture this would be for God to behold; nothing less than a magnificent tapestry depicting His marvelous and ages-long redemption; an intricately woven work of art designed to surround His throne and to testify of His unfathomable love, grace, and mercy for all eternity.

Weaving on a Loom

At Work on a Loom

Although some may not be all that familiar with tapestries, they have been around for quite a long time, with some known to have been in use as far back as the ancient Grecian era.  Similar in texture to carpets, but hung on walls instead of covering floors, tapestries have served as portable murals for centuries, often gracing the throne rooms of kings as ways of depicting the memorable events or victories that have taken place during their reigns.  Typically, tapestries are woven on vertical looms, or large wooden frames, that hold two sets of threads—the longer set being the stationary, immutable threads running lengthwise which are called the “warp,” with the shorter set being the variable threads running width-wise which are called the “weft.”  The threads making up the warp are held in place under tension by the two sturdy frames at the end of the looms; while the shorter and discontinuous weft (threads) are woven in and out of part or all of the warp to create the design of the tapestry.

With this imagery in mind, let’s now try to imagine how such a weaving process might be applied to the story of God’s redemption.  To begin, let’s close our eyes and try to visualize an enormous loom being set into place by God when, “In the beginning…,” He bracketed the timeline for His redemptive story through the placement of two sturdy frames, one marking the beginning and the other marking the ending of human history.  Having already discussed these at great length during many of our previous visits, we should be quite familiar with the two wooden frames by now; for they are the two trees that man was given to choose from in the Garden of Eden.  The tree that was chosen, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, in its choice, became the beginning frame for the tapestry; while the tree that was rejected, the Tree of Life, took its place as the end frame—the frame toward which all of the design work was to be directed.

Given the enormous distance between these two frames and the incredible number of events that the design of this tapestry was meant to depict, we should not be surprised to learn that an additional piece of wood had to be inserted at the midpoint of the loom in order to secure and support the weight of the weaving work which would be taking place upon it.  This plank was a tree, too, and one that we have also already discussed; for it was the Cross on which the Son of God was crucified; the lifeless tree which, throughout time, has served as the embodiment of all of mankind’s dead works and futile attempts at self-salvation.

Now, with the framework for the loom all set up in our minds, let’s begin to visualize the commencement of the weaving process as the first set of threads are placed on the loom.  These are the warp (threads), and for the purposes of this tapestry, they are ten unbreakable cords which have been stretched tautly from, and then securely fastened to, the first side frame, over the middle plank, and on to the other side frame.  White in color and extending out across the ages, these cords are God’s eternally fixed standards of holiness–His unchanging rules for righteous living–known to us as the Ten Commandments; the plumb lines against which the actions of all men will be and have been measured.   It is only fitting that these should be the first threads that are woven into the fabric of redemption because, unlike everything else:

     –   The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;  the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
     –   The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
     –   The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever, the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether (Ps. 19:7-9).

Given the nature of these laws, what better foundation for redemption could have been laid, other than these?

With God’s laws now securely attached to the frames of the loom, the really intricate work on the tapestry can begin to get underway.  What makes this part of the process so tricky is that before the weft (threads)—or those short and variegated “loose threads”created by humanity’s failures to measure up to the standards of God’s laws—can be woven over and under that holy warp, they must first be tied to the crimson cord that runs through the entire length of the tapestry’s design.  This cord was introduced into the human story immediately following man’s first violation of God’s command and, as the cord of redeeming faith, it went on to connect every image in the story, from the beginning frame at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, all the way to the Cross, and then on to the end frame at the Tree of Life.

Of course, this cord was none other than our blessed Redeemer, Jesus Christ; the One who was promised, the One who came, and the One who will come again—and, the only One capable of salvaging all of the threads left dangling by the sins of mankind and then incorporating them into a beautiful and eternal work of art for all to behold.  And how was He able to do this?  By dying the death that should have been ours, on the tree representing all of our dead works, He was able to remove sin’s curse, and open the way to the Tree of Life once more, to any and all who would believe.

Try to imagine with me, if you can, God looking around His throne room, gazing lovingly upon His glorious tapestry of redemption—the one depicting the millions, perhaps even billions, of oak trees that were made righteous through their faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ; each tree springing up from a seed sown in the earth and then growing toward heaven, and each tree reproducing that one seed many times over through an abundant spiritual harvest, some of which will include:

     –   the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” that was produced through the discipline of the Lord (Heb. 12:11);
     –   the fruit of a life transformed by the Spirit, one in which the very character of Christ was reproduced;
     –   the fruit of many answered prayers;
     –   the fruit of souls that were won for the Lord; and,
     –   the fruit that was produced whenever fear was overcome by faith, darkness was overcome by the light, and the flesh was overcome by the Spirit.

Try to imagine with me, if you can, the kind of joy a sight such as this would bring to the heart of God.

When, at the end of time, God scans His forest of trees, will He find you there?  Will you be a part of His tapestry of redemption—one of His oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified?  If not, can there possibly be a good reason why not?

 

God's Trees of Righteousness

God’s Many Trees of Righteousness

 

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The Tapestry of Redemption presented in song, by the Tally Trio in “He Saw Me/Jesus Paid it All.”

 

 

Monday’s Gift…

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Monday’s Birthday Gift from His Truth, My Voice is a repeat of the first of my favorite reflections from the past two years…“Loose Threads.”

Sewing Machine and ThreadsWhen I was very young, my mother took a job as a school bus driver so that she could buy two things:  a Royal typewriter and a Singer sewing machine.  Not long after she bought the typewriter, she enrolled in, and later completed, the typing and shorthand classes which were being offered by one of the local high school’s adult education programs.  Although I am sure that she did exemplary work in those classes (my mother always brought home “A’s”), I don’t think she ever got to use her newly acquired skills in any vocational way.  That’s because my mother’s real gifts were in cooking and managing, and it was the combination of these gifts that made it possible for her quit driving the bus and move on to managing the cafeteria at a newly opened school in our area.

Of course, she excelled at this job and, after serving successfully in this capacity at a number of different schools, she was eventually promoted to the position of Food Service Supervisor; a position which required her to oversee the management and productivity of nineteen of the school cafeterias in our city, and a position which she held until her retirement. Interestingly enough, while I cannot remember my mother ever using that Royal typewriter again, it was that very machine that I used to teach myself to type, using my mother’s old night school books, probably when I was just eight or ten years old.

Singer Sewing Machine

A Sewing Machine Like My Mother’s

As for the Singer sewing machine, when my mother first purchased it, I know she used it a lot because I remember always being under her feet while she was sewing.  Probably as a way of getting me out from under there, she started giving me little things to do on my own; actually beginning the process of teaching me to sew, even though I was only about two at the time.

My mother’s interest in sewing started to wane, though, once she took the full-time position as cafeteria manager, most likely because she no longer had the time to sew.  I, on the other hand, was just getting started.  In fact, I took to sewing like the proverbial duck takes to water.  I was making clothes for my dolls and me before I was eight, and by the time I had reached my teens, I was doing production type sewing, sewing flat-felled seams around all of the other students in my home economics class.

Later, when my first marriage ended in divorce and I became the single mother of two little boys, I was able to use my skills as a seamstress to provide an income for my children and me.  Later still, when I went back to school to study architecture, along with the courses for my major, I took some courses in costume design and history and, once again, it was my sewing skills that opened a new door for me–building costumes for the theatre.  The contacts that I made while working in the university’s theatre led me to a job building costumes for a season at a large opera company in the southwest; and, after I returned home, one of the people I had worked with at the opera recommended me to the designer at our local theatre, and she hired me to stitch costumes for that company.

One day about this same time, a friend showed up at my door—saying she believed she had a “word from God” for me—and told me that I should go to the large television ministry in our area and apply for a job.  At the time, I couldn’t begin to think what I would do there, but she told me that they had a wardrobe department and that they needed a new tailor!  So, I applied, was hired, and that is where I have worked, off and on, for the past twenty-seven years.  Although I was hired initially as a tailor, I ended up doing just about everything associated with wardrobe, from design to maintenance, and was quite content in doing so—that is, until about eleven years ago.

As I mentioned in my reflection, My Journey to the Land of Blog, this was the time when my supervisor asked me to take over the scheduling for our department.  At first, I was very reluctant to take this job on because it meant using a computer and at the time, I didn’t even know how to turn one on and off.  But, guess what?  I took the job and very quickly learned learned my way around the computer.  Why?  I think, for more than any other reason, it was because I had learned to type on my mother’s old Royal typewriter when I was only eight or ten years old!

An Old Royal Typewriter

An Important Machine in My Life

Amazing, isn’t it, how one seemingly insignificant decision can make such a big difference in not just one, but in so many lives?  I am sure that when my mother decided to go to work to buy that typewriter and sewing machine, she had no idea of the long range implications of her decision.  She, no doubt, thought that she would use the typing and shorthand training to get a job in an office somewhere, and was probably planning on using the sewing machine to make her clothes for that job.  She had no idea at the time that, in taking the bus driving job to buy the items, she would learn about and get the job at the school; a job which made better use of her gifts, one that allowed her to work while her children were in school and yet be at home when they were, and one where she would ultimately be able to bless a lot more people (plus it was a job where she wouldn’t be wearing anything other than uniforms—so no sewing was needed!).

At my mother’s funeral, I had the opportunity to meet one of the many people she made a difference to in her job, when a gentleman, who had been the principal at one of her schools, waited in line to introduce himself to me.   This school was a model for our city—and he told how, when they were preparing to open it, he had been asked who he wanted to manage his cafeteria.  He said that he had no idea, just to send him “the best”–and, he said, that is what he got!

In retrospect, to my mother the typewriter and sewing machine may have seemed like just a couple of “loose threads” in her life—projects or goals that were started but never completed.  Surely, when she bought those items, she thought she was purchasing them for herself; all the while not having a clue that, in God’s master plan, she was really buying them for me and that, in doing so, she was ultimately setting the course my life would take.  She had no way of knowing then that a sewing machine would be the means by which I would make a living, or that a typewriter would eventually make it possible for me to learn to use the computer; which, in turn, would make it possible for me to be on the web, which, in turn, would make it possible for me to share with others the things that I have learned about God.  What may have merely been a few loose threads in her life have, in my life, proven to be the very things that God has chosen to use over and over again, in the weaving of the tapestry which has become my life.

To be sure, they are just further evidence of the truths that…

  • “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and… the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Cor. 1:27-29 NKJV);
  • He works all things together for good to those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28); and,
  • “He has made everything beautiful in its time (Eccles. 3:11 NKJV).”

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [are] His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33 NKJV)

 

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Francesca Battistelli singing, “Beautiful, Beautiful”…

 

Happy Second Birthday!

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Happy 2nd Birthday, His Truth, My Voice!

Dear Friends,

This week, we are celebrating our Second Birthday at His Truth, My Voice!  In spite of the fact that this past year has been an unusually challenging one, I am praising God that we are still here on our Bible Study tour, and working our way through the Land of Revelation Knowledge.  Thanks to all of you who have continued to journey with us, along with a special thanks to my son, Alex, for his superior technical support, and a thank you to my husband, John, for all of his efforts at promoting this blog.

As part of this week-long celebration, I will be re-posting one of my favorite reflections each day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; while on Wednesday,  I will replay my favorite teaching video, “The Bible:  The Story Behind the Story.”  I hope you will enjoy revisiting these as much as I will.

Please continue to stay with us as we travel on through the Word, and to hold us up in your prayers as we go.

With blessings to you all,
Judy