Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Omega and Alpha

The year is quickly drawing to an end and then a new year will begin.

The Christmas season is the busiest time of the year at The Karat Patch, and just doesn't leave time to write. So in this last post for 2009 I want to use the space to thank all of you who read this blog. I hope you find it both educational and spiritually encouraging. Thanks to those of you who follow and leave comments. I appreciate your encouragement.

I pray that our Heavenly Father will keep you all in His care until we meet up again on January 1st.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Blessings2U

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gift Wrap and The Greatest Gift

We do gift wrapping at The Karat Patch. Almost every piece of jewelry goes into a presentation box, and gets an "event appropriate" gift wrap. Sometimes that event is a birthday (party wrap) or an anniversary (white wrap), or sometimes a graduation (school colors wrap). During the Christmas season we even put a tiny toy or an ornament in the bow. And we have an everyday gift wrap (brown paper), occasionally tied-up with a ribbon of the gift recipients favorite color. Whatever the occasion, we put a beautiful and personal gift wrap on what will be a special present for a loved one.

Now think about this; What kind of gift wrap would you put on the most important gift you would ever give to someone? What type of paper would you use? What kind of bow? What kind of ribbon? My suspicion is that you would use the very best of everything you could find for that special gift.

Well, the greatest gift you and I have ever received came packaged not with the best of everything, but with the most ordinary of things. It came wrapped in cloths. It was stored in a hay bin. It was delivered to (most likely) a cave (
Luke 2:7 & Luke 2:12). The greatest gift came the way it did because it wasn't just for any one person...but for everyone. It came in a form and a package in which anyone could relate and draw close, peasants and kings alike.

The greatest gift comes with both love and life for all who would receive it (John 3:16). The greatest gift never goes out of fashion, never wears out, never fails, and no batteries are required. Oddly enough though it can be exchanged...for things like the pursuit of a bigger house, a fancier car, a career, more money...anything we might want more than the greatest gift.

What is the greatest gift? The greatest gift is Jesus Christ. We received this gift that we might have life, and life more abundant...right here, right now...oh yeah, and for all eternity too (
John 10:10). When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, we unwrap the greatest gift that God our Father has ever given to the world. Those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior receive not just love and life, but also forgiveness, hope, and eternal life. In other words, Jesus Christ is the personification of "the
gift that keeps on giving".
This Christmas, during the season of gifts and giving, let's make sure those who don't know about the greatest gift get the opportunity to receive it and unwrap it for themselves (Matthew 28:19). And remember that every day of that abundant life is a gift from God...that's why it's called "the present".

NEXT POST: Omega and Alpha

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stars

Star rubies (red color) and star sapphires (blue color) show a bright six-legged star in the dome of their cabochon. The stars, like the eye of a cat's-eye, are formed by light reflecting off tiny inclusions in the stone. The value of star rubies and sapphires are influenced by two things: the intensity and attractiveness of the body color and the strength and sharpness of the star. All six legs should be straight and equally prominent. Star rubies rarely have the combination of a fine translucent or transparent color and a sharp prominent star. Star sapphires are more common but still very rare with fine color. Star rubies and sapphires are becoming more rare as most rough today is cut into faceted stones after heating instead of being cut into cabochons to display the star. Stars are very collectible as a result.

I can never look at these particular stones without thinking of that time in Bethlehem, and the birth of our Savior.

When I see the star it reminds me of the Old Testament scripture in which Jesus is described as a star. Numbers 24:17 reads, I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.(NIV)

In the New Testament Matthew 2:2 tells of the wise men seeing “his star in the east.” Luke 1: 31-33 tells the account of Jesus receiving both His name and His authority over the house of Jacob (the fulfillment of Numbers 24:17). II Peter 1:19 tells of the morning star and in Revelation 22:16 Jesus proclaims that He IS “the bright Morning Star".
As we enter into the season of Christmas, when lots of lights, festive characters and other things vie for our attention, let's consider the real 'star' of the show...Jesus.

Next Post: Gift Wrap and The Greatest Gift

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Confession and Glass Cleaner

The Karat Patch jewelry store in Big Spring, Texas is full of glass. For security reasons we only have one glass door and window. But inside the store there are display cases, wall units, and a sales counter made of glass. And not just glass but mirrors too. It's is a 'glass rich' environment. Every morning and most days around 1:00pm, we have to clean fingerprints and arm-prints off the glass. During busy times of the year, like the Christmas season, we clean the glass 3 or 4 times a day. It really is a constant job to keep the glass and mirrors clean. You can just imagine how things would be if we did not keep the glass clean: at some point one might not be able to see what's behind the glass at all.

I've often thought about all that work to keep the glass clean. We must keep the glass clean so that folks can see the beautiful jewelry inside those displays. When the glass isn't clean it distorts the beauty of things behind it.

Sometimes when I'm cleaning the glass, I think about how much we Christians are like that glass display. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we have the person of Jesus Christ inside of us. As humans, we sin. Sin is like those fingerprints and arm-prints on the glass in that it leaves something on our lives that distorts the view others have of what's on the inside.

We use a variety of products to keep our glass clean and even to prevent fingerprints. But there's only one way to clean away sin on our lives...confession. Scripture says (1John 1:9) when we confess our sin that Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us, and CLEANSE us from ALL unrighteousness. If we never confess our sin it's like that glass that never gets cleaned; it becomes very difficult to see the beauty of Jesus that lives within us. But when we confess our sin, we're like clean glass through which folks can see the beautiful things inside of us namely, the hope...the glory...the salvation...and the person of Jesus Christ.Confession and glass cleaner....things that make it possible to see the beauty within.

NEXT POST: Stars

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PDA's

Long before the age of Personal Digital Assistants, there was an abbreviated version of the term 'Public Display of Affection', namely PDA. If you've ever been a sponsor on a school or church trip attended by teens, or are a teacher or administrator at a public or parochial school with teens, you are very familiar with this term. Public displays of affection take many forms depending on one's age and the depth of the relationship. As a relationship deepens, PDA can move from holding hands to putting an arm around the other persons' shoulders and even kissing and hugging...in public. But probably considered to be the greatest PDA of all would be the presentation of an engagment ring and the proposal of marriage...in public.
The inception of the engagement ring itself can be tied to the Fourth Lateran Council presided over by Pope Innocent III in 1215. Innocent declared a longer waiting period between betrothal and marriage; plain rings of gold, silver or iron were used earliest.

As for that big rock of an engagement ring, the first recorded diamond engagement ring was presented by the Archduke Maximillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy as a betrothal gift in 1477. And thus began the tradition of this ultimate PDA...in the jewelry sense.
As Christians, we have an ultimate PDA too. Our ultimate PDA doesn't involve the giving of jewelry, but the giving of LIFE. 1 John 4:9-10 states: "9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (NIV)
And Romans 5:8 states: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)

God set His Son AMONG us...in public. That Son walked and talked, healed and taught, and ministered among us...in public. And that Son died a cruel death for us...in public. That Son was resurrected, walked the earth another 40 days and ascended...in public. That Son will come again...in public. That Son has a name.

It is the ONLY name by which anyone can be saved (Acts 4:12). That Son's name is Jesus, and He is THE ultimate Public Display of Affection...God's affection... for you and me.

NEXT POST: Confession and Glass Cleaner

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Hope

The 45.52 carat steel blue Hope Diamond was found in India back in remote times as a rough crystal weighing 112 carats. It first came to light when Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the noted French traveler of the 17th century, was approached in India by a slave who had a very secretive manner about him. It turned out that he had in his possession an intriguing steel blue stone which at first look seemed to be a large sapphire, but the well-experienced Tavernier soon realized it was a diamond – the largest deep blue diamond in the world. Tavernier purchased the stone and smuggled it to Paris, where he later sold it to King Louis XIV. It was cut there into a triangular pear-shaped stone weighing 67.50 carats, and was then known as the French Blue or the Tavernier Blue.

The legends of the ill-fortune following the possessor of the Hope Diamond are many.From the start Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana was named, had ill-fortune follow him, perhaps deservedly as he was a despot and harsh ruler. Other wearers of the jewel at the Court of France might well have given credence to the legendary curse. Princess de Lamballie and Marie Antoinette followed, and both were guillotined during the French Revolution when the 'French Blue' was looted along with the rest of the French Crown Jewels. After a long disappearance, it mysteriously emerged at auction in England as the 45.52 carat wonder that we see and know today.

Long story short, every owner of The Hope Diamond had much trouble befall them up to and until it was donated to the Smithsonian Museum in 1958 by Harry Winston. All this cumulative trouble has been dubbed 'the curse of the Hope Diamond'.

As a christian, when I think of the word hope I don't think of the word curse....I think of The Word - Christ.
Jesus is our hope and our salvation. When we have Jesus as our Savior, we possess what scripture calls 'the hope of glory' (Colossians 1:27). Indeed much of Bible scripture tells of this hope we (believers) have in Jesus Christ. Now that's not to say that those who possess 'the hope' of Jesus won't experience trouble in their lives, quite the contrary. Jesus said (John 16:33) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
THIS is our hope of glory: We too will overcome the world by the power of Jesus Christ who lives in us.

When I see the Hope Diamond and remember the legend of its curse, it reminds me that in this world there will be trouble...for everyone. But it's those who put their faith and trust in Jesus that have the real... the true... the eternal... Hope.

NEXT POST: PDA's

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

3 in 1 and 1 in 3

Tourmalines are precious stones displaying a unique splendor of colors. According to an ancient Egyptian legend this is the result of the fact that on the long way from the earth’s heart up towards the sun, tourmaline traveled along a rainbow. And on its way it collected all the colors of the rainbow. This is why nowadays it is called the "Rainbow gemstone”. However, the name "Tourmaline” has been derived from the Singhalese expression "tura mali”, which translates as "stone of mixed colors.” The very name already refers to the unique spectrum of colors displayed by this gemstone, which is second to none in the realm of precious stones. Often they show two or more colors and are cherished for this party- or multi-colored appearance. For example, such slices taken from tourmalines with a red heart, white and then green border are called a "Watermelon-Tourmaline” or Tri-Color Tourmaline. It is in fact 3 stones in 1, and all 3 are 1 tourmaline.

Whenever I see this stone it reminds me of our God; The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, each their own entity yet all 3 are 1 God.


Even the three colors of watermelon tourmaline each have specific names when apart from one another. Green tourmaline is known as 'Elbaite'. Red tourmaline is known as 'Rubellite'. White tourmaline is known as 'Achroite'.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, it's like getting a fine piece of watermelon tourmaline.....it's a 3 for 1 deal. As we accept The Son, we have access to The Father, and until that day when The Son returns, we have The Holy Spirit. The Creator, (Genesis 1:1) The Savior (John 3:16), and The Counselor (John 14:26) are all wrapped up in one wonderful God, who loves us and cares for us and provides for our every need. I'm a very firm believer that God reveals Himself through nature (Romans 1:20) and gives us glimpses of His qualities, His power, and His Divinity.

Although the processes that create watermelon tourmaline are incredibly complicated and should make it extremely rare, it is actually quite abundant. I believe it's because God doesn't want us to miss this picture of Him...a natural, beautiful example of The Great 3 in 1 and 1 in 3.

NEXT POST: The Hope

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Secure Settings

I work with stone settings almost daily at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas. Stone settings come in an array of different metals, sizes, shapes, heights, and weights and are made to fit stones of all types and of every value. In my 27 year career I have set some very expensive stones, some valued at over $100,000.00 that went into the same type of setting in which stones costing $10.00 could go. But no matter what the value of the stone, the setting must hold that stone securely so that it will not be lost. Folks who have spent a lot of money for their stone can be especially particular about the setting in which it will be placed. Security is not the only criteria about which they are concerned but it is certainly the most important. Every setting has some kind of finger-like posts (called prongs) that are prepared and then bent over the top edge of the stone to hold that stone in place once it is in the setting. Generally speaking, once the stone is in the setting and secured, there's not much to worry about.

Often times the experience I have is that of a customer who comes in having lost a precious gem from a setting, and then having found it. Their thrill and exuberance in finding that which was lost is apparent as soon as they walk in the door. With the precious stone found, they can purchase a new setting, one that is safe and secure.

Sometimes when I am setting stones and making sure that they're secure, I think about how much the hand of Jesus Christ is like that stone setting and how we are like that precious stone. In
Luke 19:10 Jesus says "the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost".

The 'what was lost' is me and you.

We've been lost out of our original setting. Our original setting was with God, in complete communion, in a beautiful garden. Then sin caused us to fall away from that relationship. We are precious gems that need a new setting. Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost. He chose to look for us because we are precious and valuable to Him. And once found, He chose to save us, and secure us precious gems by purchasing a new setting for us with His blood...a very high price indeed. And then Jesus puts us in the palm of His nail-scarred hand, bends His fingers in over us and holds us there securely (
John 6:39) until He raises us up on the last day. The security of this new setting will know no end for those who put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ.


Secure settings are good for precious gems of all kinds. And there's no setting more secure than the hand of Jesus.

NEXT POST: 3 in 1 and 1 in 3

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Amethyst and The First Miracle

Amethyst is the official birthstone for February as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental disorders. The Greek work "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. The gemstone is still a symbol in modern day circles who celebrate sobriety. Every folklore and legend about amethyst is centered around wine or the elements of wine.

Whenever I am working with amethyst at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas I often think about the first miracle Jesus performed. When Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) He didn't just perform a miracle, He gave us a picture of what we can be if we have Him as our Savior.
In the account of the miracle, there were stone jars of water used for "ceremonial washing" as guests entered the wedding party at Cana in Galilee. When the wine ran out at the party, Jesus' mother Mary called Jesus to take notice. Jesus had some folks fill the pots to the brim (which already contained 20-30 gallons of "ceremonial washing" liquid, i.e. bathwater), then had them take some of the liquid to the head-waiter who upon tasting, declared that the (now) wine was of the highest quality. One might even say that the head-waiter had discovered a treasure in these stone pots. Jesus restored their joy by changing what was in the stone pots.

And that is what I refer to as the 'picture' of what WE are when we have Jesus Christ as our Savior. A simple stone pot (or jar of clay)...with a treasure inside (2Chronicles 4:7). Even if we have filled our lives to the brim with all manner of dirty, disgusting things, once we accept Jesus as our Savior He changes all that into something wonderful and joyful...something that anyone would want a 'taste' of. We become earthen vessels with the Grace, Hope, Salvation and person of Jesus Christ inside of us, ready to be shared with a world that has run out of joy.
It's the same with His creation too. In the beginning, He created the earth, and just under the crust of it we can find beautiful gems like amethyst...a treasure inside an earthen vessel.

NEXT POST: Secure Settings

Saturday, August 1, 2009

More About The Mallet

The photo in the post "Rawhide, Steel, The Word and Jesus" depicts my actual working tools that I use everyday. That is the reason for the condition of the mallet...quite worn, quite dirty.....quite USED. In the previous post, I compared the rawhide mallet to God's Word. God's Word is what 'persuades' us into Jesus Christ (the steel mandrel) who lives in us, and causes us to be shaped like Him just like the rawhide mallet shapes a bent ring against a steel mandrel.

In my 26 year career I can only remember replacing 2 rawhide mallets. I still have the original mallet I started my career with. I can remember some of the work that it helped me accomplish. We spent so much time together over many years I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out when it couldn't do the job anymore so I decided to 'retire' it. It's smaller, much more worn, more dirty and definitely more used than the one I have now.

The photo also depicts my own Bible. What you can't see in the photo is the condition of that Bible...pages bent and wrinkled, stuffed with notes, and actually all the pages are broken out of the binding. It is my everyday Bible and is why I had it handy for the photo shoot. It is the copy of God's Word I use most frequently to 'persuade' or push myself into Jesus Christ in an effort to shaped more like Him. I also still have my first Bible that was presented to me at my baptism after accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior over 40 years ago. I spent a lot of time with it too until it became so worn I had to "retire" it as well. Both my original mallet and Bible are in places where I see them ocassionally and they both still make me smile when I do...like seeing old friends.

One of my best friends (and brother-in-law) has a note in his Bible that reads, "A Bible that's falling apart usually belongs to someone who's not". Both my mallet and my Bible show signs of use. Every day I encounter jewelry that needs to be fixed. And every day I find that I need to be fixed too. I'm glad that both my mallet and my Bible show signs of use. That means I'm still working on jewelry and that God is still working on me. I love the work God has allowed me to do in my life (
Proverbs 16:3), and I know God loves the work I allow Him to do in my life as well (Philemon 1:6).


Someday, just like my original mallet and my original Bible, I'll be "retired"...in a place where Jesus will see me all the time...we'll be smiling...old friends...together forever...all the work done.

NEXT POST: Amethyst and The First Miracle

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rawhide, Steel, The Word and Jesus

One of the tools I use when I repair jewelry at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas is a rawhide mallet, a hammer that’s head is made of very hard leather. The purpose of this hammer is to shape metal without leaving any significant marks. It's a great tool but it is almost useless without its partner tool, a steel mandrel. The steel mandrel is a tapered, round steel bar about 12 inches long. These two tools used together can straighten out rings that have been bent out of shape. When I slide the steel mandrel inside a bent ring I can see where the bend is, strike the ring at that point with the rawhide mallet and the ring becomes straight by taking the shape of the steel mandrel which is on the inside of the ring. The ring takes the shape of what is on its inside with some ‘persuasion’ from something on its outside. The ring is actually shaped from the inside out.

As Christians, sometimes we can feel like a ring that's bent out of shape. In fact, during that time that’s exactly how one might describe us, 'bent out of shape'. We need to be 'straightened out'. We get bent out of shape because of sin in our lives, disobedience to God. As Christians we have Jesus Christ living in us – the steel mandrel. And we have the rawhide mallet, God’s Word. It’s important that we experience God’s Word whether it’s in reading it or in hearing it. It’s what ‘persuades’ or pushes us into Jesus Christ so that we can be shaped like Him. Sometimes the Word of God hits us hard because we are really ‘bent’ in some area of our lives. Sometimes it’s a gentle tap that gets the job done. But whether it’s the hard hit or the gentle tap, just like a rawhide mallet God’s Word leaves no significant marks on our outside surface...no bruises or scars. Oh, there’s a change on our outside all right. It’s the affirmation that things are right on our inside. You see, it’s how things are on the INSIDE that determines how things are on the OUTSIDE (
Luke 6:45). When the inside of the ring is bent…so is the outside. Fix the inside and the outside follows suit.

If it were possible to have a steel mandrel inside of a ring all the time it would never get bent out of shape. It’s when we place our finger in the ring instead of the steel mandrel, and let things other than the rawhide mallet push against it, that the ring becomes bent out of shape. Likewise, it’s when we place ourselves into our heart instead of Jesus Christ, and let things other than God’s Word push against us, that we get bent out of shape. The challenge then is to keep Jesus Christ on the throne of our hearts and not ourselves and allow God’s Word to push us into Him (
2Timothy 3:16). By letting God’s Word continually persuade us and push us into Jesus Christ, we become more like Him. And others will notice that our outside is right when our inside is right, just like they notice when we are, or a ring is, bent out of shape.

Rawhide and Steel, The Word and Jesus…things that help keep valuable items ‘straightened out’.

NEXT POST: More About The Mallet

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Diamonds and The Real Thing

There are diamonds and then there are diamond simulants. Diamond simulants are known by names like Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (a.k.a. YAG), Strontium Titanate, Synthetic Rutile, Synthetic Spinel, Cubic Zirconia, and most recently, Moissanite. These diamond simulants all have a particular characteristic about them that easily or readily distinguishes them from a diamond. But recently (in the past 2-3 years) we have had laboratory-created diamonds introduced into the marketplace. These lab-created diamonds are extremely difficult to distinguish from a “natural” diamond without a strong background of experience in examining natural diamonds. The bottom line is it takes an expert to tell the difference between an imposter and the real thing.

Let’s take a look at the distinguishing characteristics of two of the previously named simulants. The easiest way to spot the difference between a diamond and cubic zirconia is to weigh it. Cubic zirconia weighs 55% more than diamonds with the same measurements. Moissanite has what is known as a “double refractive index” which means if you look at them under magnification the number of facets on the gem appear to be ‘doubled’.

Lab-created (manufacturers vehemently shun the words 'man-made') diamonds though are created using a ‘seed’ of natural diamond to grow a complete new crystal from additional carbon which is subjected to strictly controlled heat and pressure over a period of about 45 days. But even these stones can be distinguished from diamond by someone with extensive experience in dealing with ‘the real thing’.

In the gospels of Matthew (
24:5), Mark (13:6), and Luke (21:8), Jesus warns that many will come in His name and will deceive people. Jesus says there will be false Christ’s and false prophets that will perform great signs and miracles. Simulants. Imposters. People who will have taken a 'seed' of the gospel and twisted and perverted it, mixing lies and half-truths to meet their own evil means....deception.

So, how will we be able to tell the difference between the imposters (false teachers, false preachers, etc.) and “the real thing”?
We must make ourselves experts on “The Real Thing”….Jesus. How do we do that? We must read the authoritative book on “The Real Thing”….the Bible. Case in point: In most if not all of Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus Himself explains things we can look for that will tell us the difference between an imposter and The Real Thing. The entire Bible gives us word pictures of Jesus and His Love for us and also includes the characteristics that make Jesus truly unique to Him. Jesus has conquered sin AND DEATH. How about asking one of these imposters to raise himself from the grave?
Here’s an interesting comparison: The diamond derives its name from the Greek word adamas, meaning 'unconquerable'. No other gem has that name ‘adamas’, unconquerable. And there’s no other name by which we can be saved than by the name of Jesus, whom the Bible declares to be unconquerable.

Just as diamonds are the purest form of only one element (carbon), Jesus is the purest form of The One and Only God’s Love. Diamonds are the hardest rock (or substance) on the earth. Jesus Christ is the Living Foundation of Rock upon which God builds (
1Peter 2:4) and the Rock of our Salvation (Psalm 95:1).
There is no real substitute for diamond, and certainly no substitute for The Real Thing…Jesus.

NEXT POST: Rawhide, Steel, The Word, and Jesus

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Having Great Metal and Having Great Mettle

Great Metal
Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all known metals. A single ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet measuring roughly 5 meters on a side. Thin sheets of gold, known as gold leaf, are primarily used in arts and crafts for gilding. One sheet of gold leaf can be as thin as 0.000127 millimeters, or about 400 times thinner than a human hair.

Pure gold is soft and is usually alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, nickel, zinc, and magnesium to increase its strength. Gold alloys are used to make jewelry, decorative items, dental fillings and coins.

Gold would never be able to keep the shape of any purpose without the addition of something else to help give it strength.
The same could be said about relationships in that while they can be good all by themselves, they can be better with the addition of something that will help them keep the nature of their intended purpose, the addition of something called Jesus.

I believe it's quite evident that Jesus thinks relationships are very important. In John 13:34 Jesus states "A new COMMAND (not suggestion) I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, love one another."(NIV)
It's appropriate then that we would call both gold and relationships "valuable". Both are able to be shaped, and can become whatever a person or persons will make of them with enough effort. One can make a ring out of pure gold, or a relationship out of pure love. But comes a test and the true strength of both the ring and the relationship is discovered. The ring can become warped, bent out of shape and useless in the purpose for which it was intended. A relationship can become painful, hurtful and useless in the purpose for which it was intended as well.

Great Mettle
Whether we're talking about gold or relationships, it takes great courage to take something precious and introduce anything to it in an effort to make it better. A jeweler can add alloys to gold which strengthen and make it useful for any and every kind of purpose for which the jeweler intends. We can add Jesus to our relationships to make those relationships stronger and more useful for any and every kind of purpose God intends. Whether that relationship is with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, or between a man and woman as husband and wife, the addition of Jesus as a strengthening alloy makes those relationships stronger than they would be without Him, able to stand against any stress.

You read earlier that a single ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet measuring roughly 5 meters on a side and 400 times thinner than a human hair. It's very difficult to do anything with gold when it has been beaten and spread out that thin. In that condition, gold can literally be blown away with just your breath.

Relationships too can be hard-pressed to find proper function when those people that make up the relationship are beat-up and spread too thin. Relationships can also be blown away with just your breath…articulated with a sharp tongue or harsh words.

What's It Worth?
The distinction between adding alloys to gold and adding Jesus to relationships however can be made in that while a jeweler can add too many other alloys to gold, no one can add too much Jesus to a relationship. If a jeweler adds too much alloy material to gold, it decreases the value of that gold to a point that it is truly worthless.

Conversely, the more Jesus you add to relationships (or anything else for that matter) the more valuable it becomes, both to the people who make up the relationship and to Jesus who can use that relationship to further His Kingdom. Other 'alloys' like prayer, forgiveness, and bible study all contribute to a strong relationship.

As a jeweler I’m always looking for ways to better preserve the precious metal I work with. As Christians we should always be looking for ways to better preserve our relationships, with each other and with Christ. In working on gold and in working on relationships, both can become whatever we will make of them with enough effort.
NEXT POST: Diamonds and The Real Thing

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Time + Truth = Trust

One of the things I have to manage in my jewelry business at The Karat Patch is security. I must provide security not only for all the jewelry in the store, but also for any jewelry that people may have left for repair. I provide that security whether the store is closed or open, i.e. 24/7. I have found (especially lately) that people are more inquisitive about whether or not we provide such security. My guess is that in these uncertain times, when everyone seems to have lost something...money in a 401K, their job, their car, what-have-you...that the thing they have lost most is their trust. They can't trust their investments, they can't trust in the job security of their company and so on. So I understand when people are a bit more curious about the security of their jewelry...they don't want to lose that too. The trouble is, I can't really tell them or show them just how secure things are without compromising that security in one form or another. The best I can do is to look them in the eye and say "your things are secure" with the full confidence that I have told them the truth. After a customer visits enough times, and my truth is proven, then trust is achieved. Time + Truth = Trust.

Time + Truth = Trust. I thought about that little formula and how it applies to the occasion of a person accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Some people can hear the Gospel once and believe. Other people need to hear it many times. It’s been said that most folks hear the Gospel an average of seven times before they accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

Sometimes we are sowers and sometimes we are reapers. I might be the sower that presents the Gospel to someone six times and they don’t believe, but you present it that seventh time and they do believe. I sowed – you reaped. Some folks just need to hear the same truth several (or more) times before they trust what they have been told. Time + Truth = Trust.

But whether we sow or reap, we both work for the same master. When the harvest comes everyone rejoices…the sower, the reaper, and the master (John 4:36). One thing is certain; there must be trust. When we sow, we must trust that the seed is good and will bring forth fruit (Isaiah 55:11). When we reap we must trust that the master will keep the harvest secure (John 17:12). And the master must trust that we will do this work for Him to which we have been commissioned (Matthew 28:19-20).
Time + Truth = Trust. Trust then produces security, and security produces peace. And there’s nothing like being at peace.

NEXT POST: Having Great Metal and Having Great Mettle

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Alexandrite and Our Never-Changing God

Alexandrite is a rare gemstone named after the Russian tsar Alexander II (1818-1881), the very first crystals having been discovered in April 1834 in the emerald mines near the Tokovaya River in the Urals. The discovery was made on the day the future tsar came of age. Although alexandrite is a relatively young gemstone, it certainly has a noble history. Alexandrite is the faceted birthstone for the month of June.

The most sensational feature about this stone, however, is its surprising ability to change its colors. Green or bluish-green in daylight, alexandrite turns a soft shade of red, purplish-red or raspberry red in artificial light. This unique optical characteristic makes it one of the most valuable gemstones of all, especially in fine qualities.


Description

Alexandrite reminds me of God's Love for us.

God's Love for us doesn't change, but everything in His Kingdom and all of His creation is in a constant state of change.
Watch the image above.

The alexandrite doesn't change shape, or its facets become re-arranged even when the colors constantly change within the stone.

God has a perfect will, a plan, for everything and everyone. And although things seem to constantly change around us within that plan...good changes, bad changes, planned changes and surprise changes, we can remain secure in the faithfulness of God’s Love for us which is constant and never changing (1 Chronicles 16:34).

The color change of alexandrite from red to green reminds me of how the (red) blood of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to have (green) life everlasting. You cannot have one without the other, and both abide within God's Love. Jesus (His death and resurrection) is God's greatest expression of His Love for us (John 3:16 and Romans 5:8). I'm so glad He gave us alexandrite, another example of His creation that if examined closely with an eye to deeper things than its mere beauty, gives us an example of Him and His Love for us.

If you want to read more about alexandrite just click on the image. If you want to read more about God's Love just pick up the Bible.

NEXT POST: Time + Truth = Trust

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pearls and What's At The Core

The Pearl
Pearls are among the oldest and most universal of all gems. They are the oldest jewels known to man, and the only gem made by a living animal. The oldest surviving pearl necklace is nearly 2000 years old and was found in the sarcophagus of a Persian Princess. Pearls were worn in civilized Middle East and Asian societies as early as 3500 BC., and continued to grow in popularity during Roman times when pearl fever reached its peak. Pearls found a place in Julius Caesar's heart, and Cleopatra dissolved a pearl in wine and drank it to prove her love to Marc (Antony) Antonius. The early 1900s saw trade affected by a supply shortage and the appearance of cultured pearls on the market. Cultured pearls were not accepted immediately; it took several years for consumers and the industry to accept this new kind of pearl.

Pearls, and I'm talking about natural pearls here, exhibit some weight. Natural pearls are ‘organic’ gems, i.e. gems created by a living creature. NACRE (pronounced na-cur and the same substance that lines the inside of the oyster shell) produced by the oyster begins to cover whatever foreign object enters into the mussel's environment in an effort to make it smooth and less irritating to the sensitive tissue of the mussel. This process continues over many years to produce a pearl of PURE NACRE. The larger the pearl, the more dense it becomes. This layer of nacre can be affected by any act of nature such as predator attack, disease, disturbances in the ocean floor such as earthquakes, etc. and can affect the creation of the pearl. Lustre and surface imperfections play a huge role in the 'grading' of a pearl, and are directly affected by such attacks, disease, and other factors that might cause stress to the mussel.
As with all gems, the more perfect, the more valuable.

In
Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus tells the disciples (and us) what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

"45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it”. (NIV)

Likely this merchant would have found a pearl that was large, heavy, free from blemish and possessed great lustre. Those attributes describe heaven too, a place without boundaries, dense (completely filled) with the Spirit of God, totally free from impurity or imperfection, with the lustre (shine) of the Glory of God. I just love how Jesus has provided something like the pearl, that if examined closely with some attention to deeper things than its’ mere beauty, gives us a picture of heaven and our future with Him.

What's At The Core
As is often the case though, satan came along and perverted (by imitation) God's perfect creation...now I'm talking about cultured pearls. Cultured pearls are created when man inserts a piece of spherical oyster shell into the oyster mussel. The mussel then covers this light-weight “seed" (often as much as half the diameter of the desired finished product) with nacre to make it smooth and less irritating, and after only a few seasons the 'cultured' pearl is ready to harvest. It is in essence, a counterfeit to the natural. I have in my own mind likened this to deceivers and false teachers, who might present something that looks like the real thing, but at it's core....is not. As I mentioned about the weight, a true natural pearl can be distinguished from a cultured pearl by putting them on a digital scale. Given the same diameter, the natural pearl will weigh more than a cultured pearl, even if everything else is perfect. They look the same, but the natural possesses more gravity......just like real gospel when compared to false doctrine. Natural pearls can also be verified by modern x-ray technology. This is still only a way of determining what exactly is at the core. It’s what’s at the core that determines what is real from what is not. Now look….I’m not saying that cultured pearls are evil, I’m just making illustrations… no cards or letters please.
One day people will be (in a sense) 'weighed', or examined to determine what is at their core. I want my core to be Jesus...the real deal. The story of the merchant re-enforces the idea that we should be willing to sacrifice anything to possess the Kingdom of God....as in fact we begin to do when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and die to self, sacrificing our own mortal life for eternal life in Jesus Christ….to give up all that we are to attain all that He is.
NEXT POST: Alexandrite and Our Never-Changing God

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time and The God-Shaped Hole

Out of Time
We change watch batteries at The Karat Patch on a daily basis. Every now and then we get a watch that someone else has already tried to “fix”. One time a customer brought in a watch and when they handed it to me they said “I need a battery for my watch”. Right thing to say….right?

Can't Find the Time
But they didn’t say “I need you to change the battery in my watch”. So when I got back to the work area and removed the back of the watch I found just what they meant……..the watch had no battery in it. As I was discovering this, the customer was telling me they thought they could change the battery themselves and opened the watch to see what battery it needed, only to have the battery pop out of the compartment and roll to a place to which they could not find it.

Too Much Time
Just so you know there are about 50 different sizes of watch batteries. Thank goodness I have a template with openings to check a battery’s number by passing it though the template and it also gives the exact size of every battery in diameter and thickness. But this template only has about 18 openings in it. That’s because for any given diameter there are at least 3 or more thicknesses. So even with the template there is some checking to do to find the proper thickness. Even though there are batteries that will fit the opening and will make the watch run, there’s only one battery that fits perfectly. As I was fixing the problem of the watch with a hole in it that only one size of battery would fit, I thought about you and me…and Jesus.

The God-Shaped Hole
I thought about that ‘God-shaped hole’ in all of us. I thought about how there are a lot of things that can get put in that hole, but how only ONE thing fits that hole perfectly….Jesus. You know, like that watch, there were 8 batteries that could have been put in the hole that would fit the diameter, but not the thickness. Some were obviously way too thick….they fit the hole and touched the electrical contacts and made the watch run, but then I couldn’t get the back of the watch…well, back on the watch (uh, re-installed). Some were too thin, they still met the contacts but when the watch moved certain ways the battery would come off one of the contacts and the watch would run on and off. There was only one size that fit perfectly and made the watch operate well and perform its’ intended purpose…tell time.
There are a lot of things that we can put in that ‘God-shaped hole’ in all of us. I’ve tried to fill mine with all kinds of things that seemed to fit, but somehow I just didn’t operate all that well. And by ‘didn't operate well’ I mean not being able to perform my intended purpose. What purpose? I believe we are all created to commune with and serve Jesus, which is our intended purpose. Like putting those different batteries in a hole that they sort-of fit, we can fill the ‘God-shaped hole” with things that sort-of fit, but neither the watch nor our lives operate very well in those instances. The watch needs the right battery and we need the right God. Having too many other things going on in our lives that keep us from God is like having too big a battery in the watch (
Exodus 20:3 and Matthew 6:19-21). Not doing enough for others or only doing for us is like having too thin a battery in the watch (Matthew 25:35-45). Sadly, there are some who spend their whole lives filling the God-shaped hole with anything and everything except the right thing. A bigger house, a fancier car, more money... will never be enough to fill that empty place in us. Jesus is the ONLY thing that fits the ‘God-shaped hole’.

Watches eventually need new batteries. Jesus never runs out of energy. Watches tell time. Jesus owns time, and therefore always has time…for you and me.

NEXT POST: Pearls and What's At The Core

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jewelry Casting and the Creator - Final Part

The Maintenance

When my customer wears their new creation out in the world, I want my work to be so outstanding that people take notice (
Proverbs 16:3). The same should be true of our lives when we are made new by our Creator. When we have been made a new creature in Jesus Christ, and we take ourselves out into the world, our lives should reflect that something has changed. That ‘reflection’ should be that of Jesus. One of my bible teachers says that after we claim Jesus Christ as Savior, “we should be so full of life that when we walk by the produce department of the grocery store, even the lettuce should perk up!”
Customers always tell me that they get more compliments on their jewelry after they have come into The Karat Patch and gotten a good professional cleaning. The metal and the gems both shine and sparkle brightly. You know, the jewelry has been out there in the world and got dirty. This reminds me of what happens to our lives too. We have to be out there in the world and…well, we get dirty. But we can get a good cleaning if we come to Jesus and show Him our dirty lives (confession of sin) (
1John 1:9). Jesus forgives us our sin, cleanses us from unrighteousness………makes our lives shiny and new…….a condition that ‘reflects’ the Creator. At The Karat Patch, we sell all kinds of products to maintain a beautiful appearance to your jewelry. But, Jesus has freely given us all kinds of things to maintain a beautiful appearance to our lives; The Bible, our Christian friends, prayer of confession and most importantly, His life and more pointedly, His cleansing blood.

I tell my customers that their jewelry should be kept clean and checked regularly. That’s good advice for our lives too.

After I have made something new out of something old and the customer is happy, they pay me and leave the store. My hope is that they are so happy with the transformation that they tell everyone who made it happen for them. And so it is with our transformation by the wonderful saving grace of Jesus Christ. Jesus too wants us to go out (Matthew 28:19) and share with every one we know the story of how it all happened, and how He can make that happen for them too. In the jewelry world and in the spiritual world, this is called “giving a testimonial”. It is the account to others of an impressive positive experience. The testimony is intended to instill in those who hear it a confidence that the work has been done by someone they can trust with their valued possession(s). In the jewelry world it is their precious metal and gems, in the spiritual world it is their precious LIFE.
If you have trusted me with your valuable possessions and have had a great experience at The Karat Patch, I hope you would speak well of me so that others know they can trust me too.
If you have trusted Jesus with your valuable life, I encourage you to tell others about your experience so that they will know they can trust Him as well, and that He can make something NEW…… from something old.

I hope that you have enjoyed this series and have learned something new about jewelry casting, and understand now why every time I go through the process I see Jesus.

And all God’s children SAID –Amen!

NEXT POST: Time and The God-Shaped Hole

Jewelry Casting and the Creator - Part Four

The New Creation

(Review the key paragraph from Part Two: "The Process" here )
"When the metal is cooled, the flask is then submerged into water and the plaster is broken away to reveal the new creation. The new creation is then separated from the “button”, which is all of the leftover metal from the entry point into the plaster flask."
This part of the process always reminds me of baptism. But, you had to see that one comin’.

The change has been made and now it’s time for everyone to see the new creation. The plaster investment being broken away reminds me of how Jesus breaks away the bonds of our sin, bringing us from darkness to His Light (Acts 26:18).
Removing the new casting from the “button” reminds me too of how we are set apart, sanctified, for use in and service to the Kingdom of God.

"Then the finishing and polishing process begins, which can involve many steps including grinding, sanding, and polishing. These steps take the new creation to its’ final stage of beauty, an appearance that observers will appreciate and find pleasing."
When the new casting comes out of the plaster flask it is not shiny and new looking. I know that it will be when I get through with it though. This stage of the casting process always makes me think about our daily walk with Jesus Christ. Even though we have been forgiven of our sin and are this new creation, we still need a little “polishing and finishing”, you know, to sort of clean-up what the world sees of us (
Philippians 1:6). .
This would be a much easier process if we didn’t have to deal with that part of us that just doesn’t want to let go of some of the things that we think we don’t want to live without. These things are different for each person, but all are things that we might put in front of or before our relationship with Jesus Christ. Maybe it’s a job, a sport, an interest of some kind. Allowing Jesus Christ to take control in those things that keep us from Him makes our walk with Him a richer experience (
Matthew 6:19-21 and Matthew 6:24). In the casting process, this is the process of finishing and polishing. Sometimes I have to use some pretty aggressive methods to remove the fire scale and imperfections in the new casting and get it to a beautiful shiny reflective surface. Other times not so much. Sometimes God has used some pretty aggressive methods with me to remove things from my life that kept me from reflecting Him who created me. Other times not so much. I know, I know……those of you who know me can’t imagine I have flaws and imperfections. I’m just glad you don’t see what God sees……but enough of that! Just keep thinking I’m flawless.
The point of all the polishing and finishing in the casting process is to get the metal to a bright shiny lustrous finish in which people will see and appreciate the beauty. It’s the thing that captures their attention and makes them want to look at it even closer. Watch their face light-up with amazement when they are told it was made from a bunch of old broken-down junk. Oh yea and by the way, this is the same reaction people will give when you tell them how your life has been made new, purified of sin, re-cast into a new creation, polished and finished by the Creator…..out of your broken-down junk.

NEXT POST: JEWELRY CASTING AND THE CREATOR - FINAL PART: THE MAINTENANCE

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jewelry Casting and the Creator - Part Three

The Refiner’s Fire

(To review the key paragraph from Part Two: "The Process" click here )
“...impurities begin to surface from the liquid metal. It is at this point that all the impurities are removed with a pure quartz rod, or incinerated by the fire. In this liquid state the metal will actually follow the flame around the crucible as the impurities are being removed."
The closer the metal comes to being ready for casting into the new form, the more it follows the flame. The more Christ-like we become, the more we seek that thing that helps get us there. As impurities are removed from our lives, the more we want to become the likeness of Christ. The more we seek positive change, the more we seek to follow the flame that incinerates the impurities in our lives. The rod of pure quartz used to remove impurities from the metal reminds me of the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. And the fire itself that brings impurities to the surface of the liquid metal reminds me of God’s Word, pure truth that shows us our sin and brings our impurities to the surface (
Hebrews 4:12). In comparison, the likeness of Christ would be the absolute purest form of metal possible, and then some. If we seek Christ’s likeness, then we must constantly seek that “refiner’s fire” to remove all the impurities in our lives.

"When the impurities are gone and while the metal is still liquid, it takes on a “mirror finish”, indicating that it is time to activate the casting machine to move the liquid metal into the new form which is waiting at the open end of the crucible."
Now I don’t want anyone to be confused here. There’s an important statement to make in following this process. Often when a person falls under conviction, they think “I better get my life cleaned-up”. But only Jesus can do what Jesus can do. The Bible states that if we confess our sins that Jesus is faithful to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (
1 John 1:9). That’s the process. I believe the purification process in our lives begins with the moment we begin confession of our sin. Then Jesus is faithful to forgive us of our sin within that same moment. In the casting process, this is the “mirror finish” state in which the jewelry caster determines the metal is ready to move from the crucible, to the new form inside the plaster flask. The “mirror finish” state is the time when the metal is ready to make the move to the new form. I really love this comparison: The “mirror finish” in the casting process is when the liquid metal reaches a state of condition in which the jewelry caster can see his image. Once we have confessed our sin and accepted Christ as our Savior, we reach that “mirror finish” in which the Creator sees His own Image. That image is the same form that is waiting to receive the now purified metal of our broken-down lives, and we are cast into a new creation.
Because of our decision to confess Jesus Christ as Lord, when the Father looks at us He doesn’t see our broken-down junk anymore, He sees His son who lives in us (
Matthew 3:17).

“When the casting machine is activated, the liquid metal moves instantly into the waiting plaster flask which contains the new form for the metal."
When the metal begins to leave the crucible there’s only one way it can go to reach the point of new creation, just as Jesus said there is only one way to the Father (
John 14:6). The metal gets there in an instant. The change in our lives with Christ is instantaneous when we accept Him as Savior and we become a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17) which is PERFECT in the eyes of the Heavenly Father. But our earthly lives can take j-u-u-u-st a bit longer to change.


NEXT POST: JEWELRY CASTING AND THE CREATOR - PART FOUR: THE NEW CREATION

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jewelry Casting and the Creator - Part Two

The Process
(Portions of the following paragraph will be highlighted throughout this series and you may want to refer back to it over the next posting weeks)

In the process of centrifugal casting, the old metal junk is placed into the crucible and melted with fire into a liquid state so that there is nothing left of its’ previous form, and the impurities begin to surface from the liquid metal. At this point all the impurities are removed with a pure quartz rod, or incinerated by the fire. In this liquid state the metal will actually follow the flame around the crucible as the impurities are being removed. When the impurities are gone and while the metal is still liquid, it takes on a “mirror finish”, indicating that it is time to activate the centrifugal casting machine to move the liquid metal into the new form (the cavity inside the plaster flask) which is waiting at the open end of the crucible. When the centrifugal casting machine is activated, the liquid metal moves instantly into the waiting plaster flask (which has been removed from the kiln and placed into the centrifuge) containing the new form for the metal. When the metal is cooled, the flask is then submerged into water (called quenching) and the plaster is broken away to reveal the new creation. The new creation is then separated from the “button”, which is all of the leftover metal from the entry point into the plaster flask. Then the finishing and polishing process begins, which can involve many steps including grinding, sanding, and polishing. These steps take the new creation to its’ final stage of beauty, an appearance that observers will appreciate and find pleasing. This is also the point where jewels and gems can be set to further enhance the new creations beauty.


“In the process of centrifugal casting, the old metal junk is placed into the crucible and melted with fire into a liquid state so that there is nothing left of its’ previous form, and the impurities begin to surface from the liquid metal”.
This process begins only after a decision is made that the old junk needs to be made new again. My customers believe in me and my ability to do what I tell them I can do with all their broken-down jewelry. This is much like our decision to follow Jesus Christ as our Savior. We believe in Jesus Christ and His ability to make us new again (Rev 21:5), and have Faith that He is who He says (Jhn 14:6-9) and can do what He says He can do (Jhn 3:16-18).


“The old metal junk is placed into the crucible and melted with fire into a liquid state so that there is nothing left of its’ previous form, and the impurities begin to surface from the liquid metal. It is at this point that all the impurities are removed with a pure quartz rod, or incinerated by the fire.”
Our old life and our old ways, the “old metal junk” of our lives gets placed into the crucible to be made ready for the new creation. This also makes me think of how we come under conviction of our sin. The purification process begins. More often in life than not, this process is likened to “going through the fire”, a refiners fire (
Mal 3:2-3). This “fire” at first can seem painful because we are faced with looking at our sin and/or don’t want to let go of some things in our lives. Sometimes it’s things that we have put in front of our relationship with Jesus, and sometimes it’s just plain old SIN. But the refiners’ fire brings all the impurities to the surface so that they can be removed.



Illustrations of the 'lost wax' jewelry casting process


NEXT POST: JEWELRY CASTING AND THE CREATOR - PART THREE: THE REFINER'S FIRE

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jewelry Casting and the Creator - Part One

An Introduction

Almost on a daily basis in my work at The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas people bring in old broken-down jewelry and want me to create a new piece of jewelry out of it. This usually involves making a sketch, reproducing that sketch in a wax model, taking all that broken-down jewelry apart, setting up the wax model in a plaster (called investment) flask in preparation for casting, placing the wax model plaster flask into the kiln for burn-out (the wax model is burned away in this step, hence the name “lost wax process” of casting), melting down the old gold (or other metal) in a crucible and centrifugally casting it into the plaster flask form where the wax model has been burned out, breaking the hardened casting out of the plaster flask, finishing and polishing the new piece, setting the stones, more polishing and cleaning and finally, delivery to the customer of a brand new product. As you can see it can be quite a process.

Nearly every time I begin this process, and every time I get to the casting portion (which will be the focus of this series), I think about how Jesus can change people. I think about how God can use things going on around us to help make us into better people.

Just as a customer comes to me to make a new piece of jewelry out of their broken-down junk, we can come to Jesus to make a new person out of a broken-down person.

Sometimes when people bring in their broken–down junk for me to make something new, it’s hard to see what can be done with all of it to make it look beautiful. It’s hard to see its’ full potential. But Jesus can look at every person and see them at their full potential and at their very finest.

When I’m sketching for a potential client, and working out what the finished product might look like, there are a lot of unknowns and particulars that sometimes reveal themselves only at the very end of the job. And sometimes the job turns out a little differently than first thought.

God on the other hand knows exactly what a person is going to look like when He gets done with them…..they’re going to look like Jesus.

I’ve been told that Rev. Billy Graham’s wife once said that she wanted her gravestone to read: “Thank you for your patience……construction now complete. “

The process of creating a new piece of jewelry from old can be quite involved, and so can the process of changing from the old person to the new. I’ll write a bit more on this as the series continues. I believe as this series about jewelry casting unfolds you will be able to see the similarities in the two processes just as I do when I start making something new from something old.



NEXT POST: JEWELRY CASTING AND THE CREATOR - PART TWO: THE PROCESS

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lone Star Cut Gems and the Star out of Jacob

A STAR IS BORN

Texas House Concurrent Resolution No. 97, 65th Legislature, Regular Session (1977) named the “LONE STAR CUT” as the official gemstone cut of the State of Texas. And the official gem of the State of Texas is Texas Blue Topaz.

At our store, The Karat Patch in Big Spring, Texas we carry beautiful blue topaz, white topaz, and amethyst with the lone star cut. They capture the attention of anyone who even gets close to them. People just can’t believe what they are seeing is actually part of the faceting of the stone and not just some design that has been laser-cut into it. We get these special stones from a lapidary in Austin, Texas and we build a special 5-prong setting for them in yellow or white gold.
We started carrying the lone star cut about 15 years ago and have sold a ton of them to very proud Texans, and even to residents of other states who are formerly from our Great State. They are quite beautiful and unique with a very tiny star in the very bottom of the stone, then outlined with another star. The special 5-prong setting that we build for the stone has the prongs placed just outside the points of the star and really help to accentuate the star shape.
I can never start to put these pieces together without thinking of that time in Bethlehem, and the birth of our Savior.

THE RISING STAR

When I see the star it reminds me of the Old Testament scripture in which Jesus is described as a star. Numbers 24:17 reads (Num 24:17 NIV): I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.

THE RISEN STAR

In the New Testament Matthew 2:2 ( Mat 2:2 ) tells of the wise men seeing “his star in the east.” Luke 1: 31-33 ( Luk 1:31 ) tells the account of Jesus receiving His name and His authority over the house of Jacob. II Peter 1:19 ( 2Pe 1:19 ) tells of the morning star and Revelation 22:16 (Rev 22:16 ) Jesus proclaims that He IS “the bright Morning Star”.

I encourage you to look-up these verses and read the Words of God for yourself. That’s why I haven’t just printed them all here.

We keep the Lone Star Cut in Blue Topaz, White Topaz, and Amethyst.

Blue – the color of the waters of baptism and new life in Jesus Christ
White – the color of purity and the cleansing from sin by Jesus Christ
Purple – the color of royalty and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ

NEXT POST: A series titled - JEWELRY CASTING AND THE CREATOR