Posts tagged ‘clay’

Beating Clay

If you have been a Christian for a while, you know that God is sometimes referred to as The Potter, and we are the clay in His hands.  The lyrics to the hymn Spirit of the Living God come to mind.  “Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.”  We are to be clay in God’s hands.  I read a devotional this morning that stressed how pliable clay is.  Clay doesn’t do anything to become what the Potter desires, but sit there and be formed.  (Check out Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day by Day, January 7th.)

But something came to my remembrance as I read that today.  I don’t consider myself artistic, so don’t get all excited when I say this.  I took a semester or two of ceramics (clay art) in college.  I loved it!  I was close to pathetic in my artistry, but I did manage to come out with functional pieces at least.  In fact, I loved it so much that a few years ago I bought a homemade pottery wheel.  It still needs to be re-built, but throwing a few clay pots is high on my bucket list!  Unless you have actually worked with clay on a pottery wheel, you may not know that one has to beat the snot out of the clay before you can mold it into anything solid and functional.  Clay naturally has a lot of air pockets.  One of the funnest parts about working with clay, in my mind anyway, is when you take a big slab, slice it in two using a wire stretched taught over a cloth-covered table, and then slam, and I mean slam, one half down on the table, and slam the other piece onto the first.  Doing that three times is a good general rule to beat out the air pockets so that your clay will be solid when you work with it.  The end product will hold up much better to stress without all those tiny little wholes created by the air pockets.  In short, beating the clay first reduces the weakness of the end vessel.

Now something tells me that God knew this when He made this analogy!  I have often heard Christians talk about going through the fire, referring of course to the refiner’s fire, the tests that God uses to purify His people.  Being clay, molded and shaped in careful, loving hands, seemed somehow softer, easier.  I liked that picture better.  Kind of hoped that I’d be clay and not silver or gold in the fire.  But now I cringe a little as I can still picture those slamming slabs of clay.  At the same time I know that in the right hands, a strategically slammed, and masterfully molded piece of clay can be made into not only something of true beauty, but a vessel to be used by it’s maker, the Potter, for good work.  And in the end, to, who will get the praise for what the vessel accomplishes?  Certainly not the vessel!  But the Potter!  It really is the perfect set up!  I get to be something of beauty and worth, and at the same time humbly bring praise to my maker.  I think I’ll take it.  Mold me and shape me.  Fill me and use me…for Your glory, dear Lord.

Jeremiah 18:2-6 (NKJV):   “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.  Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:  “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”

Savior Yes, But Lord?

I was listening to a radio pastor recently while driving down the road, as I often do. He closed his message by asking the listener if Jesus was their Lord and Savior. Interesting question. Perhaps more interesting is the order of the words. Let me break it down and ask the question without the compound word “and.”

Is Jesus your Lord? Is He The Lord of your life? Have you surrendered yourself completely to Him? Have you asked Him to make you who He wants you to be? Have you asked Him to mold you and shape you, as a potter molds and shapes clay, into a vessel able to pour out God’s love on all those around you? Do you obey traffic laws because Jesus is The Lord of your life, and you know that He put those who make the laws in authority over you? Do you obey your employer’s rules because you work for them as though you are working for Jesus, Himself? Do you obey Him, even when you don’t want to, as a sacrifice to your Lord? Do you sin, seek forgiveness, and sin again, without true repentence, without surrendering that area of your life to Jesus and asking Him to change that in you? Do you long to spend time with Him? Do you hunger and thirst after His righteousness in your life? Do you pray without ceasing because He is the first one you desire to turn to all throughout your day and night? Do you wake up in the morning thanking God for another day, and eagerly looking forward to time devoted and set aside to read His word and pray and worship Him? And do you go to bed at night thanking Him for His blessings? Is He in your heart and mind, never far from every thought? Is His name always on the tip of your tongue? Have you given His Holy Spirit the throne of your heart so that His presence within you is becoming as though you are one together?

Or. Or is Jesus your Savior only? Once upon a time you told Him you believe that He is God’s Son, that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, then took your sins to the cross and paid that penalty that you deserve to pay. You believed that Jesus came back to life, and is living in Heaven now, while His Spirit is here on earth with us. You may confess it in church on Sunday as a part of the litergy. You sing it with the congregation. You recite the prayers, or at least bow your head when the pastor prays. But when you walk out the door of the church, you leave Jesus behind a barrier that you have erected there. Like a cloak, you put Jesus on when you enter the building, and you take Him back off before you leave. That is where He stays. He is your Savior. You are grateful. But not so grateful that you are ready to bring Him into your outside world. He is not your Lord.

Brothers and Sisters, Jesus did not die for you so you could get a weekly reprieve from your guilt. He did not die for you so you could live how you want during the week knowing you have a safety net that will pull you from the depths on the day of judgement. He offered His salvation free of charge, but when you accepted it, you were bought at a very high price, a price that only God could afford. You belong to Him. He is your Lord. He is calling you to make Him Lord, not only in name, but in deed also. Jesus took your filthy sins. He bore the intense weight of your guilt, and bled and died your death. Then He covered you with His purity and promised you life eternal. Does He not deserve to be The Lord of your life, lock, stock and barrel?

Time is short. The end is near. Soon Jesus will return. He needs all of His people to be serving Him with all of their hearts in this time so that as many as will receive Him will become sons of God.

Verses (from the NKJV):
Luke 6:46 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
John 13:13-15 – “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
Romans 10:13 – For whoever calls on the name of The Lord shall be saved.
Romans 13:1-2 – Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves.
Colossians 3:22-24 – Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to The Lord and not to men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve The Lord Christ.
Psalm 4:5 (NCV) – Do what is right as a sacrifice to The Lord and trust The Lord.
Isaiah 44:22 – “I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.

So What is God’s Story, Really? Pt. 2

In part one of this post, I laid out God’s over-all plan…to create a people to live with Him throughout all of eternity.  But not just people to fill the space.  He wanted, wants, people who love Him, and choose to be with Him.  In order to do that, He had to create them, and give them free will.  He allowed them to turn their backs on Him, and then went to the extreme to save them when He offered His own Son as the sacrifice, paying the penalty for their hatred of Him.  He patiently waits, year after year, century after century, to bring as many people into eternity as will come, and why?  Love.  He loves us with a love that we cannot understand.

God set the world spinning, filled with all these people, with the goal being eternity.  But He doesn’t just sit and watch it spin.  He doesn’t just let the chips fall where they may.  Earth and it’s people are not an experiment to see what will happen.  It is not happenstance or willy-nilly…God sitting back and letting it all play out, hoping for the best scenario.  God is busy, active, involved in this world that He created.  Yes, we, as a whole, are indeed the middle step in His plan, but God is involved in the lives of each and every person who has ever, or will ever live.  He knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs.  He takes the time to know our names.  He knows the very number of hairs on each of our heads!  He knows the desires of our hearts.    God is intimate with us.  He is developing the intimate relationships with each of us that He so desires, and it is all preparation for when we will see the end to the goal, when we will be in Heaven, for eternity, with Him.  No, this is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants plan.  God does not have ADHD, and decided impulsively to create a world filled with people without thinking it through.  God’s plan will be worked out in every life, from birth to death, until the time when Jesus returns.

I was so blessed by the words God gave me in part one of this post.  I could see the big picture so clearly, and was in such awe of my God!!  But what touched my soul was how God works within His creation, on a personal level, recognizing each and every one.  Like an artist, lovingly sculpting, noticing, and perfecting the finest details.  Loving what He is making, even though we are all just one tiny figurine in a shop of billions.  I can almost see Him, bent over the clay that is me, eyes warmed by deep love and affection, a carving tool in His hand.  He touches me gently, scrapes a little clay off here, but shifts a little, or adds some in another place.  In one spot, He uses a damp sponge to smooth a scratch.  He speaks lovingly to me all the while.  So devoted to making me just right…and at the very same time, with the same love, attention, and devotion, He works on thousands, maybe millions of other pieces of clay, all in different stages of readiness.  Look!  Do you see what He has done?  He painted the blood of Jesus on my forehead!  I am His!  And He is mine!  And when it is time, He will breath eternity in to me.  I will be able to commune with Him, face to face, in a way that I can only dream of now.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV) – For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.

John 10:14-15 – “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Matthew 10:30 – “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Philippians 1:6 – being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 64:8 – But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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