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 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.


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.

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 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 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 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