Do your Words Bless or Backfire?

When we post a comment on social media, it’s permanent.  It is indelibly stamped onto some recess of the internet, available for anyone to see at any point in time.  The same can be said of the words we speak.  However, our words are not just passively recordable, but they have an eternal effect on others and ourselves with ripple effects lasting into eternity.

Words are hurtful.  We have all been on the receiving end of this truth, knowing that a hurtful word can penetrate a soul deeper than any sharp object.  Our words have the profound ability to affect and influence people for the good and bad.

James 3:4-5, 8-10 states, “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things…. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing.”

James says that it is full of deadly poison, as its venom can easily strike and maim anyone in its path.    Our words are a windows into our hearts.  Matthew 15:18 says “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”

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As I read the James passage, verse 10 stuck out to me – “with it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people.”  God didn’t design an instrument of praise to also be an instrument of harm.

Our words must be consistently aligned with the truth of God’s Word.  Controlling and redirecting our words is vital for building up others.  It’s not enough to bless others on social media while cursing them in private. 

2 Timothy 2:20-21 states, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonorable.  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

Here Paul is telling Timothy how to be a person God uses.  It has little to do with biblical training, church attendance or even your gifts.  It has everything to do with your willingness to seek God and cleanse yourself from sin.

God uses people that pursue Him and flee sin.

Imagine sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and the hostess comes to the table with a large crystal bowl of what looks like cornbread stuffing.  Instead of putting it on the table, she proceeds to put it on the floor next to the dog’s water dish, where the dog comes over to eat his canned dog food.    As the bowl has been made dirty by the dog food, is it now better suited for scraps for the dog or for dressing on the table?  It’s a gross analogy but it goes to show how a vessel meant for honorable purposes can quickly be allocated for dishonorable purposes once it has become dirty.

With the same mouth we bless God and curse men and then wonder why He doesn’t want to use us?  (I speak to myself more than anyone else.)  Just as a the crystal bowl was made dirty by the dog food, so are our mouths made dirty are not as useful to God.

Fortunately, just because a bowl is dirty doesn’t mean it can’t be used again.  It simply must be cleaned.  If we want to be useful vessels of honor, we must cleanse ourselves of sin by confessing it to Him.

Our words have a boomerang affect.  What comes out of our mouth ultimately affects others into eternity.  Our words play a role in how God uses us.

Fortunately, when we used our words to reflect His goodness to others, God will continue to use us.  As we know that our words have tremendous power, we can harness this power to encourage others.

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Kind words cost us nothing but their effects may be eternal.  One kind word can change someone’s entire day, week or even lifetime.  As a habit, when you see something beautiful about someone, speak it.  Proverbs 16:24 says that “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.”

Make a point to never suppress an encouraging thought. May our lips be tight when we are tempted to speak critically and may they be loose when we see good in someone.   Let’s pray the tremendous power of our words are used to build up others so they may see their true Source.  If our words are a window into our hearts, may others see nothing but the light of God’s Love.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it so it hopefully encourages someone else.

‘Til Next Time,

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In God We Trust

So many reactions to this election swing between the two pendulums of fatalism and panic.  While one person dismisses our role in voting, feeling that God’s sovereignty deems it as irrelevant, another supports the idea that an individual simply cannot be a Christian if he or she does not vote for a certain candidate.

Matt Morton, our teaching pastor at Grace Bible Church’s Creekside Campus in College Station, Texas spoke on the role of God and government yesterday.  It provides a lot of clarity to the above views and gave me a peace about what lies before us this Tuesday and in the years ahead.

Please find some time to listen to the sermon at the link below.  God blessed me through these words and I pray they give you peace and comfort in these chaotic times.

http://www.grace-bible.org/resources/sermons/god-and-government-creekside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Gel Stain Wood

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“Paint Remover” is not in my DIY vocabulary. I can think of few activities more miserable than applying a noxious chemical onto a piece of furniture in an effort to scrape off every bit of old paint or stain. Sometimes it is necessary, but more often, you don’t have to strip a piece of furniture to refinish it.

Gel stain allows you to cover almost any painted surface (including laminate and metal).  It’s easy to get the look of a dark, rich stain on a painted piece of furniture as long as you know the right process.

Here is what you need:

Mouse Sander (a must-have)
Fine(320) and rough(180) sanding pads
Zinsser Bullseye 123 water-based primer
Minwax Gel Stain in walnut or hickory
Peanut butter shade of latex paint (I used Behr Honey Bear)
White latex paint
Floetrol (optional)
Minwax Polyurethane in satin
Rags and brushes
(You can find all of the above at Home Depot or Lowe’s.  I got my mouse sander here for $15)

I eyed these two “beauties” on a Facebook page. Knowing they were solid wood and in good shape, I knew they had serious potential.

You can see a funky inlay pattern and also some deep-set water stains. I decided to do my favorite combination of a dark stained top and white bottom.

Prep Work

As with any piece, the first step is to make sure it is structurally sound. I tightened all the bolts underneath and would have added wood glue or wood epoxy if needed. Nobody likes wobbly furniture.

Sand

Next, I sanded….I sanded like I have never sanded before with one of my rough sanding pads in order to get rid of the water damage and to even out the inlay design. I then wiped the table with a slightly damp rag.

A Fresh Start

To prime, I used Zinsser Bullseye 123 and painted one coat on the tables.  There are no ads at Renovatedfaith.com, but I really like this product. It settles very well for a primer, leaving few brush strokes, and it dries fast with very little odor. Although it is water-based, it still blocks out the old stain. Always sand beforehand to be safe.

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Spindles

I like to get the most difficult painting tasks out of the way first, so I decided to work on the legs next. I added Floetrol to my paint (according to the directions on the back) which makes the paint settle better, leaving fewer brush strokes. Normally, this isn’t a big deal because you can sand out obvious brush strokes but any kind of woodwork with spindles is not easy to sand. Because Floetrol also thins the paint some, it took me 4 to 5 coats of paint on the legs. If you aren’t a stickler about brush strokes, the Floetrol is not a must.

Base Coat for Staining

Now that I was ready to refinish the top, I decided to tape off the bottom with trash bags so as to not get any paint on the bottom portion of the tables. (This is the point that you would fill holes on the top. Always prime first before filling holes because you can see them better.)

Then apply a layer of your peanut butter colored paint. This time I used Behr Honey Behr in Latex Satin. This shade, although hideous, will serve as the base for your stain. Where part of the brush strokes are slightly translucent (like the grain pattern in stained wood) you will see a little of this shade peak through. It took one thick coat of this.  Notice I didn’t cover it very well but that’s ok – the surface will take on a completely different look regardless.

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Sand the top and then wipe it with a damp rag. This makes the surface slightly less smooth and gives your brush some drag when you use the cover stain. That will give you the wood grain look.

Congratulations – you are officially done with sanding portion of this project!

Gel-Stain

Now is the fun part – applying the gel stain! I used Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. Walnut is also really pretty. Now brush on the gel stain in the same direction. Your goal at this point is to cover every bit of the top with a good coat of gel stain. It doesn’t dry very fast so you have a few minutes to work with it.

Now that the top is covered in gel stain, apply long even strokes in the same direction. You cannot screw this part up!

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If you want your stain darker, add some more gel stain. The key is to work in the same direction to resemble wood grain. This is actually the same process many high-end furniture retailers use because different cuts of hardwood can have different shades. Therefore, to have continuity in their final product, a gel-stain is used.

Here is how the top looked after one coat:

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After a 24 hour dry time, you can add another coat of gel stain if you want it darker like I did.

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Let your final coat of gel stain dry 24 hours. Then apply a coat of polyurethane. Add another coat after 24 hours for extra insurance.   On our coffee table, I used this same process and applied 6, yes 6, coats of poly because I knew we would be leaving cold glasses on it all the time. It was well-worth the extra effort as it still looks amazing, as you can see below.

These coffee tables made a major transformation and I’m happy with the results!

I love my “project time” as it is restful and recharging in so many ways. As a time for me to zone out from the chaos that life brings, I often find myself reflecting on how God has transformed me just like whatever furniture piece I am working on.


As I brushed the gel stain onto each table, I noticed how effortlessly the new stain covered, making a new surface instantaneously. The thick stain seeped into every nook and cranny embracing and covering every bit of the old raw surface. I watched as it restored the dated, worn-out wood to something fresh and new.

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This is a beautiful picture of how God restores us to become who He always meant for us to be. When we come to accept Christ as our Savior, He wraps us in a robe of righteousness so we will no longer see the old stain of sin.

Looking at the new surface, I no longer saw water stains and scuff marks, I saw a pristine reflection of myself in the surface. God is always faithful to make us into something beautiful, transformed and useful for His purposes when we seek Him. We often long to fix our broken places but in reality His grace fully covers them, like they never existed in the first place.

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You might also like my post on how to build and finished your own Turned-Leg Coffee Table.

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If you enjoyed this tutorial, please share!

‘Til Next Time,

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