Most of you know that I love working with leather; it is my number one hobby and favorite pastime. But you may not know that I used to really enjoy and do a lot of woodworking, too. Many factors have greatly limited how much (or little) I’ve worked with wood over the last 10-15 years but a new trend called “upcycling” has brought this hobby back into the forefront of my mind.

If you’re not familiar with it, Upcycling us basically taking some worn out or generally worthless item or material and re-making it into a new, functional and valuable item. For instance, I have been working on a coffee table made from 100% salvaged wood that looked like it was good for nothing other than the landfill or burn barrel. In fact, upon seeing it piled in the bed of truck a few weeks ago one of my Brothers called “craft wood”, or maybe he used a similar word that only sounded like “craft”; I’m not sure. But I digress…

It occurred to me that the grace extended to us is a lot like the Lord’s way of “up-cycling” us. After all, we are, in our unregenerate state, nothing more than depraved sinners worthy of the justice of a holy and righteous God. And yet He made a way for us to be “up-cycled” into a brand new creature, imparting His pure righteousness to each one that will by faith accept Jesus Christ as the Savior they so desperately need. Think about that: from enemy to heir in an instant! Thank God for His way of “up-cycling” us from worthless to priceless. And thank God for Jesus, the One who paid the price for each of us.

Garbage In…

I was thinking about a couple of projects I did last fall, compared to a couple I’ve done recently, and the results I obtained from them. Last fall I had s couple of small side tables to refinish. I used what I had on hand, as far as paint and things go, and put a fair amount of time into both of them. But the results were, well, less than stellar. This past week I refurbished a couple of old metal utility carts. For these projects I got new paint, a specific type and color for each one, and used new and different primer on them both. I also used a different technique and products for the preparation phase. And you know what? They results were a whole lot better, at least in my opinion, with these carts than I got from the tables. I think the difference was in the products I used: what I had on hand verses getting the specific item that I needed for the projects. I guess this would be kind of an example of “garbage in, garbage out”, as the old saying goes.

This principle is equally true with what we fill ourselves with: if we fill our mind with garbage our attitudes will reflect that. The Bible says

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

. If we feast upon godly things we will produce good fruit in all areas of our lives, fruit that is pleasing to God and useful to His purposes. But if we indulge in the worldly, godless things the product will be far from fruitful; it will be useless garbage.