Saturday, October 6, 2012

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 
2 Corinthians 4:7 
(Read 2 Cor. 4:1-7)

I recently saw a demonstration on pottery where the artist said,
”I like to play with dirt!”
Never really thought of pottery in that term before…
Peter with the pottery restoration.
Today, pottery is so beautifully finished with glazes of different colors and styles.  The pieces can last for many years. But, in ancient times, clay vessels were used much like we use paper plates today.  Used once, then thrown away. Very little value, if any, was put on them.  Today, archaeologist find volumes of pottery shards on their digs. Very rarely they’ll find a clay pot in tact.  My husband participated in a dig where he found 3 Roman pots in tact! He was the star for the day! Everyone stopped their digging and came over to see!  They let him hold it and take pictures with it.  But, they wouldn’t let him keep them!  Shards, on the other hand, were plentiful. After making sure there was no significant inscription on them, he was permitted to take some home. Part of his training was pottery restoration.  It’s like working an ancient jigsaw puzzle with shards to reconstruct the pottery.   Unique pieces got a place in the museum showcase.  All others were stored away, rarely to be seen.
In this passage we are pictured as earthen vessels (clay pots); made of dirt, cracked, humble and ordinary. Not a likely place to store a treasure.  Yet, God, who created the light to shine from the darkness, has chosen to shine the light in our hearts and to use us to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory and the gospel of the Lord Jesus to others who are still in darkness.  What a treasure!
Our human weakness is not a barrier for the power of God.  God uses ordinary people.  It is because we are blessed with this wonderful treasure that we should have boldness and confidence to live for the Glory of God.
Note:  Thoughts inspired by a sermon on “God’s Glory in our Witness” by Dr. Erwin Lutzer of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Being in the Presence of God Brings on a Reaction

I was listening to an inspirational song, where the songwriter tries to imagine what he would do when he sees Jesus face to face in heaven.  Would he stand or would he fall on his knees?  Would he sing Hallelujah or just be silent?... It’s a beautiful song.  It got me thinking; does the Bible give any examples of people’s reaction, when they came into God’s presence?  Here are a few that I found.
In the presence of God:
  • Adam and Eve hid themselves, after they disobeyed God in the Garden (Genesis 3:8).
  • The people were afraid – When Moses went up the Mountain to meet with God and they heard the thunderings and saw the lightning flashes and smoke. (Exodus 20:18)
  • Ezekiel fell on his face (Ezekiel 1:28)
  • All men will shake (Ezekiel 38:20)
  • Jonah fled (Jonah 1:3)
  • People feared (Haggai 1:12)
  • Isaiah saw his own unworthiness and said, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
  • The Apostle John fell at his feet as dead (Revelation 1:17)
  • The people, who had rejected the Lord Jesus Christ were standing and waiting to be judged from the books at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-12)

These examples sound like it’s a very scary thing to be in God’s presence.  For sure, we must have reverence before Him.  Yet, there is comfort in knowing that if we know and abide in the Lord, we can feel safe.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High 
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; 
My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1)

We can also experience fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore in His presence!
“You will show me the path of life; 
In Your presence is fullness of joy; 
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

How can we “know” Him?  The only way is through The Lord Jesus Christ. 
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)
Jesus told us that we need not be afraid.  He has prepared a place for us in Heaven.  Not only can we imagine, but with joy look forward to seeing Him face to face!
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lamentations – Finding Hope Out of Sorrow and Grief

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

For most people, when you turn to Lamentations in your Bible, the pages are still stuck together. Right? It’s not enjoyable to read about sorrow – true sorrow. Lamentations tearfully describes the grief experienced when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC.

As you read, you can feel the devastating pain from every perspective -the observer, the victim, the city, God, and Jeremiah.

An applicational thought: As a healing process for grief, it may help to see the situation in other perspectives, besides our own.

How could such a thing happen to Jerusalem, where God chose to place His name? The people no longer loved or served God. They turned away to follow other god’s. Prophets warned of the impending judgment. All they had to do was to turn back to God. The warnings were ignored to the very end. Then it was too late. Judgment came.

The main question asked when trouble strikes is, “Why is this happening to me?” There are many reasons for why trouble occurs. But Lamentations zooms in on this one thought. It is God’s way of getting the attention of His own who have gone astray. God means what he says and says what He means. Continual persistent disobedience will end in grief. Make an assessment on how you are living your life. Are your thoughts and actions aliened with God’s will? Is He trying to get your attention? The lesson learned here is not to ignore these warnings. But to humbly submit and return to Him.

This book is dark and gloomy. But, wait… there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel! - It’s called Hope! Our sorrow will not consume us, because of the Lord’s mercies and compassion toward us. Even in the darkest of nights, just as the sun will rise afresh in the morning, so His love and mercies will renew us each day. Morning is coming- He is merciful (3:22-24). The Lord is good to all those who humble themselves, seek and wait patiently for Him. God doesn’t take pleasure in grief.

It’s so wonderful to know that no matter how bad our circumstances are the Lord will help us through it. In the end, we can find hope out of the sorrow. For “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Looking Ahead

As I start this new year, I know that God already knows what will happen. It's wonderful to know that He has it all under control in His will. I will continue on as He leads.

I found this great poem in a simple frame hung on the wall of the Jacksonville Baptist Theological Seminary classroom, where I attend classes to finish what I started over 40 years ago and get my bachelor's degree in Christian Education. It really spoke to me and I hope that it will be an encouragement to you as well. (The poem is like a prayer to God.)

Looking Ahead
I'm looking ahead to those things that
You will have me to do,
Those places You will have me to go,
Those things You have purposed for me.

I'm looking ahead with power,
and determination
Knowing that the past is behind me,
the present is before me,
and the future awaits me.

You know what's ahead of me
You have prepared the way
You have straightened the crooked paths
and smoothed the rough places
Stumbling blocks will become instruments
in Your hand for my good
and Your purpose
Detours will serve as opportunities to tell
others about You.

I can look ahead
because You are my Guide.

Louvenia Lee Aka Love Lee

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Note: Picture is a photograph I took at Deerfield Beach, FL in the early morning.