Last Minute Christmas Gift

This year I was just too busy to make any thing for Christmas gifts. I had so many other things on my plate I decided to forego making any leather craft gifts. That was the plan anyway…

My son took an order for a hand tooled wallet for a coworker. He called and asked me to pick him up a kit from the hobby store, which I couldn’t do: they were out of stock. So, he asks if I can make him a kit from scratch, which I could, and agreed to do. Then a few hours later he calls and says he has to work a double shift and needs the wallet by 6:30 tomorrow morning; can I make the whole thing? I agreed even though I probably shouldn’t have; the design was to include a figure carving of a deer head, which I’d never done before (any animal figure carvings for that matter) and really don’t have the “right” tools to do it. A few hours later and I ended up with a pretty decent project. And having learned a few things to boot!

The entire “kit” was hand cut and after carving and finishing it was hand sewn and laced. I used Tandy Leather products for most of the finish along with a few other items to get this nice rustic look. SuperSheen was my resist, EcoFlo briar brown highlight was next, followed by two spray coats of Krylon clear acrylic satin. I then used my secret weapon: Kiwi shoe polish in brown. This takes the edge off the excessive (in my opinion) shine and warms it very naturally, along with giving a bit more highlight.

I know the deer isn’t perfect but not bad for a first try. And one that was not planned for or had the correct tools to do.

The interior came out nicely I think. I sewed the top edge instead of lacing it as I usually do. This greatly reduced the bulk and make it much sleeker. I painted the top edge with my own recipe of edge dressing: one part acrylic paint (black here) mix with one part SuperSheen.

The lace is goatskin. I like its strength and performance. And I think it’s a great value for my money. It’s a combination of single (on the thinner edge) and double loop lacing. I also found a new-to-me way of ending my lacing. And I’m extremely happy with the new way and how it looks. It’s detailed in one of the teaching manuals I got from TLF, though I can’t recall the title at the moment.

So, he’s happy, I learned a thing or two and I got forced into relaxing for a few hours at my favorite hobby. Oh, and someone is getting a nice hand crafted wallet for Christmas. I guess this one is a win-win-win.

Merry Christmas!




Assembly Required

This afternoon I sat down to assemble a mini-trampoline that we bought out grandson, Connor, for Christmas. We chose this model because it had very high ratings and reviews; the only negative mentioned (by almost every reviewer) was the difficulty and time to assemble it: average 3 1/2 hours. I was quite pleased when I was about half way done in only 45 minutes. But I knew the hardest part, installing the mat and bungee cord, was still ahead. As I began to study the instruction I noticed that one step was completely impossible to do. No matter what, I was going to have to do this step differently than the instructions because it just couldn’t be done as described.

As I laced the last hole, using my own method, I was pretty pleased with how well I got the thing together. Then I noticed some thing: there was a step right before the “impossible” one that absolutely had to be done first. I was so focused on the unattainable step I missed the necessary first part, causing me to have to unlace the whole thing and start over. I still finished well under the average time of 3 1/2 hours (only 1 1/2) but would’ve been done even quicker if I’d not focused so much on the impossible and went in order.

It seems to me in our walk of faith we tend to focus too much, too often on the “impossible” step as well. How much more growth could we see individually and in the Church if we focused on the Word of God and His promises rather than what we see as the impossible step, what ever it may represent? The Bible tells us that all things are possible with God. The Word promises that we can over come all things through Christ Jesus. We have the hope and promise of some place far better. And we are told if we will be obedient the Comforter will guide us, direct us, never leave us. I could go on and on. If only we would keep our eyes on Jesus and our focus on God’s Word instead of that “impossibility” in our lives we could be so much more of use to our Lord, so much more a help to one another, and see lost sheep brought into the fold. What a mighty and wonderful thing for each one, each church, if only…

More Harm than Good

There’s very little on television I find worth watching any more. It seems that most programming today is void of, well, any thing close to any substance. I find the continuing trend toward “reality” shows almost unbearable with a very few exceptions. One reality show I some times watch is about some really gifted gunsmiths; they make some really neat weapons. However, I find it more and more difficult to watch them because of their actions: they use foul language with about every other breath and then show themselves in a circle of prayer!

In the Book of Romans Paul said that the Roman believers “blaspheme the name of God among the Gentiles” with their actions. I think that the folks in this program do the same thing; how much honor do they bring to the Lord with their profanity followed by prayer? None. If we act as the world and then proclaim the Name of Christ we are harming the cause of God, just as those addresses by Paul were doing.

I know that you have all read or heard that “the only Bible most folks see is your life” and it is true. When one claims Christ and then lives like the devil they are showing the world exactly what the world so desires to see: a hypocrite. And we wonder at times why lost people say if so-and-so is good enough to make it to Heaven so am I!

Think about it…

Accepting God’s Plan

Accepting God’s Plan
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 24:1–25

David, in Psalm 139, makes the appropriate comment, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it” (v. 6). If David lived today, he would write, “This blows my mind.” The vastness of God’s inscrutability has a way of doing that to us—and so it should.

If nothing else, the study of Job reveals that we don’t fully understand God’s ways. We cannot explain the inexplicable. We cannot fathom the unfathomable. So let’s not try to unscrew the inscrutable.

If only the men who considered themselves Job’s friends had acknowledged that. It would have been so much more comforting to Job, sitting in such enormous misery, longing for an arm around his shoulder and someone honest enough to say, “We’re here, but we don’t understand why this is happening any more than you do. God knows, but we’re here to be with you through it. God is doing something deep and mysterious, but it is so beyond us we cannot understand it either.”

May I go one step further? God doesn’t have a “wonderful plan” for everybody’s life. Not here on earth, for sure. For some lives His plan is Lou Gehrig’s disease. For some lives (like Job’s) His plan is a life of pain. For others, heartbreak and brokenness, blindness or paralysis, or congenital complications. For many, His plan is to answer no to their requests for healing. But we don’t like that. Some won’t accept it. In fact, they go so far as to say, “If you believe that, you lack faith.” On the contrary, I say if you believe that, you believe the Bible!

The Bible describes the lives of people who don’t get well, who don’t quickly get over their problems, who don’t easily overcome accidents or illnesses. God’s Word pictures its heroes, warts and all. They hurt. They fall. They fail, and on occasion, by His grace, they succeed.

How well do you accept the unfolding plan of God for your life?

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives(Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The Love of Jesus

“The powerful preaching of Jesus is piercing precisely because everything He says is not only true, but comes from a heart of love. Jesus first of all, loves His Father in heaven and would never compromise the message that sinners must be delivered or be damned. That is the reason Jesus came to earth—to save sinners. It’s true. Jesus loved you and me too much to not speak plainly of our greatest problem (sin and the wrath of God) and the glorious solution (the good news of the gospel).

I recently watched a clip of a missionary named Paul Washer who tells the story of how a doctor ruined his mother’s day by telling her she had cancer. The news ruined her whole weekend and made her cry. But, obviously, the doctor was doing the most compassionate thing he could by telling her the truth and offering her an opportunity to do something about her problem before it was too late. If the doctor had avoided the dreadful subject of cancer, he would have acted immorally, unethically, and should have had his license taken away. Likewise, Washer states, there are many pastors today who need to have their licenses taken away due to their lack of courage to speak of that which is most vital to the sinner—his need to recognize his own sin, turn from that sin (along with its eternal penalty) and turn to the Savior, resulting in pardon, peace, and paradise. I agree with Paul Washer and pray that God gives me courage to speak the truth in love like Jesus did.” Kirk Cameron

Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head- Christ


Our water pressure dropped off to near nothing today a little after 2:00 pm. I called the water company to see if there was a problem and there was: a water main had broken on our street and a boil-water advisory had just been issued. I out some water on to boil and thought I’d be a good neighbor and update my Facebook status with the advisory for local friends and family to know they needed to do the same.

A few hours later I checked back into my Facebook account and realized that I had written an advisory had “Judy” not “just” been issued. I felt foolish, all the more so because my friend Judy had seen and responded to it. That is what I get for short cutting and not taking time to put on my reading glasses!

You know, as long as we are in this body of flesh we are going to make mistakes: some little one and some big ones. I’m so glad that I know my brothers and sisters will accept and forgive me when this happens. But I’m more glad that my “elder Brother” and Savior will also accept and forgive me and stand as my Advocate before the Father if I will humbly admit my fault, not being too embarrassed (prideful), and ask He do so. Our God is so good, all the time.

Focused Thanksgiving

I’m nearing the end of a 365 day devotional, several of which I’ve shared with you the past eleven months. I started it a little late so today’s reading is off: it was meant for Thanksgiving Day. We should be thankful every day though so I’m going to share it- late.

“Focused Thanksgiving
It’s Thanksgiving, the day we set aside to express how thankful we are for the unique and unprecedented way America has been blessed. Granted, not everyone gives thanks to the same source for these blessings. There are those who recognize God’s providential hand on our land and those who don’t. But for those of us who know the truth of God’s Word, we know that all credit, thanks, and glory belongs to Him. And that’s a perfect segue into our theme for this month…worship. Something striking stands out when you count the number of times the words “give thanks” show up in scripture…you find the act of worship happening. Giving thanks and worship are inseparable. We see this in David’s declaration: Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name. (2 Samuel 22:50 NKJV) We see it in the priestly functions of the Levites: And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests…to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 31:2 NKJV) And we even see this in the heavenly vision that the Apostle John has been given: Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. (Revelation 4:9-10 NKJV) Over and over again, we see that giving thanks and worship happen in conjunction with each other. In fact, we could define worship as the act of focusing our thanks in God’s direction. And that makes today a day unlike any others when it comes to the potential for praise. So as you celebrate and give thanks, let your “thanks” turn into something so much more by focusing it on God and allowing it to become worship.
-Bob Coy Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale”

Keep It Real

I really enjoyed this piece and wanted to share it.

Keep it Real

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 KJV)

“I remember years ago the popular song “Come Just as You Are” was played during altar calls every Sunday at my church. Every time I heard that song, a sense of relief would wash over me. I always wished this song was performed early in the service. For years I felt as though I had to “dress up” for church. I don’t simply mean my clothing, (the minimum requirement for my church was a three-piece suit-and when you’re fourteen years old that’s kind of tough!) but also my spiritual life. I had made mistakes throughout the week. I couldn’t let God see that, especially not in His house. So I would sit there, squirming uncomfortably, trying to put on a pure and holy face so I could look super spiritual for all the good Christians in their long dresses and suits and ties. Thinking back, I realize there were so many times during worship that I missed God-not because He wasn’t there, but because I wasn’t being real. I struggled for the longest time with the idea that Christ would want me. I didn’t understand the full measure of the sacrifice He made for me at the Cross. I thought that if I was honest with Him about my shortcomings, He would be disappointed or upset with me. The sad thing is that all He really wanted was my confession and repentance-not my pleated pants or my smug holy face. This week, don’t play church. Don’t hide, and don’t fake it. Be honest and confess your sins to Him. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, Christ loved us and died for us. When confronted with that reality, no matter where we find ourselves, we cannot help but worship!

-Andrew Strickland Worship Leader, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale”