Sharp Swords

Hardy Swords

A dear friend and co-worker recently called me and asked,

“Would your grandsons like some swords and a pirate costume?”

Is the sky blue? Is grass green?

Yes, YES!

She dropped them off the day before four of our grandsons arrived last week. They immediately began to pose, stab, and swing those swords around. These swords did not come with an instruction booklet or a YouTube video with a live demonstration.

These boys just knew what to do. It was instinctive, a part of their genetic make-up.

I have evolved in my thinking about play swords, guns, etc. When our first child was born in 1977, I was not going to encourage violent play by giving him play guns or swords. We gave him toy trucks, trains, tools, balls of all kinds, etc.

Soon after he walked, he started picking up sticks and swinging them around. He pulled apart the stalks of dried Joe Pie weeds and had “sword” fights with his sisters. Any stick with a crook became a gun – if it was long enough it was a rifle.

My evolution became complete when I realized that children will play “fighting” and “battles”. I just needed to set limits on how they played with play swords or weapons.

So – no hitting people or animals. Period.

Since the fall of man, people have been in conflict. The Bible is full of such situations. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:10-17 –

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Notice two things in particular about this passage –

* the battle is NOT against flesh and blood – other people – but evil spiritual forces
* we need the sword of the Spirit which is God’s Word

Hebrews 4:12 says –

For the word of God is alive 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.

God’s word is described as a sword in these two passages. As I saw the grand children playing with the swords, it struck me that we need to prepare them for the spiritual battles they face every day. We do that by learning to use God’s word which is “sharper than any double edged sword.”

When I was dealing with the fear of losing our son when he was stationed in Iraq, I would quote “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” The battle for me was not against the terrorists in Iraq, but the FEAR that I would lose my son. This Bible verse did not guarantee my son’s safety – it DID guarantee that God would be with me whatever happened to my loved ones.

Quoting God’s word sets my mind on truth, not the circumstances around me. It allows me to wield that sharp, two edged sword!

We must take the time to share with our children and grandchildren the word of God so that they will be prepared, swords sharp, for the battles they face.

Meant to be Used

coverlet

I have been blessed to have beautiful heirloom coverlets, table cloths, and quilts made by both my grandmothers, some great aunts and my husband’s mother, aunts, and grandmother.

All except for one set, these treasures are in pristine condition even though they are 70 to 80+ years old.

Why is that?

These hand made treasures still look brand new because they were never used!

These gifted ladies spent countless hours designing, cutting, sewing, crocheting, and finishing these items. I have pillow cases with hand crocheted borders and table cloths with embroidered patterns and bound edges. All made by hand – all skillfully rendered.

Never used.

My husband’s Aunt Priscilla gave me a crocheted table cloth and table runner that was hand made by her aunt that had never been used. Aunt Priscilla was born in 1915, so her aunt probably made them around the early 1900’s. I use them frequently, and with care. I do the same with the hand decorated pillowcases and tablecloths.

When my parents recently moved from our home to the retirement community where they now reside, they had to downsize. Mother brought out the coverlet pictured above that was hand crocheted by her mother – Svea Anderson Rohner. It is one of the most beautifully crocheted pieces I have ever seen – so even and precise. Mother asked if I would like it and I told her I would be honored to have it – but I would use it – with care.

It now graces the antique bed in our guest room, my parents’ former bedroom. It looks so pretty there, just like it belongs! I do replace it with a nice, but more durable quilt when guests with children use that room. I want the coverlet to remain lovely so I can pass it on to the next generation. I also don’t want to worry someone using the guest room.

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Still – I DO use it. If it does gets a stain on it – I will try to remove it.

It was meant to be used.

I did mention one set of heirlooms that aren't in pristine condition. These are two quilts made by my father's mother, Grace Auman Barker, that are worn, even a bit tattered in places. Yet they are beautiful hand work and warm and cozy to use. My Grandmother Barker was a very practical person. I doubt she kept anything that she didn't use. I think she would be pleased that these quilts are used by her great and great-great grandchildren!

One reason I enjoy using these handmade objects, besides their beauty, is that they remind me of the ones who lovingly made them.

I treasure the quilt and the coverlet because my grandmothers who made them were women who had a great impact on my life. They were very different in personality, yet each loved God and desired to honor Him with her life. Each had a unique influence on me – each loved me.

God has given us something that He wants us to treasure – something that is meant to be used.

His Word.

God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible and God also unveils His plan to redeem our lives through His Son, Jesus. If my Bible is just a book that is put on a shelf but never used, it is similar to all those lovely things my relatives made and stored away in trunks and bureau drawers – of absolutely no use.

I honor my family members when I treasure and use the lovely things they made.

I honor God when I treasure and read His Word. Just before Jesus was crucified on the cross, He prayed for us – His followers. John 17:13 – 19

13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

Jesus gave us his Father’s words. Now it is our priviledge to share God’s word – the Bible – with our children and grandchildren.

It is meant to be used.