On the edge of the new year, people are planning all sorts of resolutions for weight loss, relationships, community and church involvement and the like As 2015 looms in front of us many have a plan for a Second Chance. The bible paints pictures for us of life lessons using things that we can all relate to then and now – pictures about fishermen, sheep and shepherds, fathers, even weather. In Jeremiah, God paints a vivid picture using a Potter and Clay.
The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message: “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand – Jer. 18:1-6
This Potter creates useful vessels – cups, plates, jars and pots. These vessel honor the Potter and profit Him. It is a long process of preparing the clay for use which takes softening the dirt and straining of impurities – all of which ensures the flexibility and mold-ability of the clay. This process takes some time. The Potter takes worthless dirt and makes it into something amazing, useable and very valuable.
This is a picture of God’s work in our lives because in our original state when God found us we were a wreck wreck – unusable dirt. But God softens us and applies Him loving touch and gently molds us into vessels of honor and glory for Himself. During the process of molding us on Him Potter’s wheel, He always has His hands on us. He is always in contact. He can feel any impurities. He can feel any bumps. He can feel any and all imperfection and will lovingly smooth them out.
Are you completely surrendered to God today? Are you still holding the reins of your life? Is God your co-pilot? Or are you like clay in the hands of the potter?
If you are a vessel that has refused to surrender your life in part or completely now is the time. Come to Jesus today and place yourself into the hand of God and let Him work in and through your life.God loves you. He wants to take your life and make it into a thing of beauty for His glory. Will you come to Him?
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”- Proverbs 14:12
Have you ever really thought about how really dumb it is to not be committed? Do you want to be dumb? Take a snapshot of your life, a good look, “I’ve smoked this, I drink that, I said this, Done that” Can I just tell you something? The body of Christ is sick. We have allowed sin in infiltrate our lives and refuse to look at sin as rebellion to God. This is breaking the heart of God.
In churches around this country and around the world for the most part Believers are uncommitted. We have committed ourselves to an idea or a building but not the Lord. We have time to watch American Idol, Survivor and Dancing with the Stars, we have time to buy and play the latest games, we have time to take in the latest Twilight movie even go as far as to wait outside in the freezing cold at midnight to see it; We have time to spend on the latest gadgets –iPads, iPhones, Kindles. We will grab the latest First Person Shooter game and while shooting it up thinking, “I can’t wait for the new one. I can’t wait for the next season. I can’t wait for the latest blah blah blah and on and on and on. Question – Is THIS is all that there is?
Snowboarding champion Louis Vito was recently in a commercial as a spokes person for KICKER speakers and at the end says something that most of us feel – “My Life, My Music”.
That is the message that we send out to the world and everyone in it, “I’m going to live MY life, MY way, to satisfy ME and make ME fulfilled. Yet when we get there, we find emptiness, sadness and want. Reminds me of the way Christmas used to feel many years ago when the last present was opened and the wrapping paper is everywhere and in the heart we say…”Isn’t there anything else?” God doesn’t want us to live this way – empty – wanting. What do you think this looks like to God?
Look for just a moment at Romans 12:1 –
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”
This is someone speaking to us that loves us. But when we read passages like this we like to stick out our lip like the Lord is angry at us, trying to spoil our fun; raining on our parade because after all, God made us the center of the universe and is consumed with us being happy…Right? NOT! God is saying “I Love You”, “I am for You”, “I am on Your side” – turn it over to me – let me guide you, protect you – offer your bodies as a living sacrifice – living!
People used to bring animals and kill them on the alter and burn them as a sacrifice to God; a onetime usage until the next sacrifice. But God is calling us to something much greater – a living sacrifice that can be used for Him, to please Him over and over and over.
Are you willing to risk it all for God? Do you believe the promise of God is true? Is there anything in your life that keeps you from saying, right now…“All that I am, All that I have is Yours”.
What have you sacrificed for the Lord in your walk with Him?
What in your life has change since the day that you meet Jesus?
Father, open our hearts to Your truth. Help us to unashamedly give our whole self to You – Amen.
A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger – Proverbs 15:1
I created a MySpace and Facebook account years ago in their infancy partly as a social experiment to see what students liked, talked about and general what they were really you to. But this monster grew into something unbelievable; a type of terror that exists to rob people of their time, to give them a license to say whatever they want, to whomever they want, whenever they want without any feelings of liability or responsibility. Disagreements with and by believers, politics, social and economic trends and the like have given people a “safe haven” to speak their mind, destroying the character and integrity of others and themselves frankly while hiding behind Freedom of Speech when the scriptures that we are supposed to hold dear to our heart teach us to “Speak the Truth in Love”. Going further we read in Eph. 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen“.
Does this truth not resonate in our hearts as we type and text? I find Chapter 4 of Ephesians an amazing chapter because the content is speaking boldly about the maturity of believers and gives us sound teaching and instruction for Christian living which is largely ignored unless it fits the mood of the day or whether or not someone has hurt us and made us angry.
But please allow me to focus on one passage that this message begins with – A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger – Proverbs 15:1.
It is my prayer and I believe the desire of Almighty God that people listen as I dissect this verse and shine some light on a few words within.
Why should we care how we use words? Let’s first look at the word SOFT – A Soft answer… This speaks of something…well…soft, something that is tender or delicate. This word however is much deeper. This “soft answer” speaks as one who is innocent like the words of a small child, innocent in the way they think and see things, innocent because these strong words would never be used by such innocence.
The second word I would like to illuminate is the word WRATH. Now this really isn’t that hard to define or understand but we really need to look deep within the meaning and intent of this word. It obviously is speaking about anger, even hot indignation. But below the surface as we peel back the layers to the root we can see that this word “wrath” speaks of conceiving as though it were a sexual act and a human being is conceived in the womb. Wrath as it is conceived grows within and causes rage and bitterness and gives birth to evil. Look what Jesus has to say about wrath…
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell – Matt. 5:22
Wrath poisons the heart and clouds our judgment and robs us of joy and fellowship with the Lord.
The last word I would like to view is the word ANGER. Now you may be thinking “wait, we just talked about that one”. Ummm…. NOT! This is a problem with the English language or maybe just how we choose to lazily communicate. WRATH and ANGER here have very different meanings. Anger literally means to blow our breath out of our nostrils. Think about it. How many times have our children pushed THE button and we take that deep breath and exhale through our nose, nostrils flaring our like a bull in the middle of the ring being tormented by a red cloth? Hot air blasting out, ready to destroy whatever is in our path. Not only this but this word even describes our facial expression or countenance contorting, wrinkling our forehead so there is little doubt when ANGER is on the loose.
My point? Look…the scriptures, GOD’s Word people, is supposed to teach us, educate us, steer us, guide us and there really isn’t any excuse for posting every disagreement and lashing out with hate and disgust at people and unloading every piece of dissatisfaction with life via Facebook, MySpace, texting…no matter how much you are hurt or suffering. Our attitudes should be more like, “Lord, walk my through this fiery furnace” not “well I’m hurt so I am going to take things into my own hands”.
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper – Psalm 37:3
Trust in the Lord – With all the nonsense on the web, the negativity, anger, disagreements and the like bombarding our thoughts, how in the world are we to think about the things that are “noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8)
I say again TRUST in the Lord and do Good!
Father, Thank You for salvation! Thank You for the change! I pray that You would impress upon our hearts Your way of doing things by using our words to encourage, uplift and speak truth into the lives of people in our circle of influence because we love You. In Jesus name, Amen!
“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully” – Psalm 24:3-4
Many people today are hungry for a fresh movement of God in their lives and ministries. They want to see truly powerful worship services; they want more of the mountaintop. They want to see God’s power in their families, schools and careers. They want to see God’s protection in their families. They desire a REAL relationship with God – the kind that Moses, David and Paul had. People are not satisfied with just reading about what God used to do, they want to see what God IS doing. They are anxious to see God move in the same way – today!
This Psalm begins with 2 huge questions –“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?” David asks a legitimate question here – Who can actually stand before the Lord God? Who has the right to walk straight in and stand in his presence?
Then David zeros in a little further and asks, “Who can stand in His Holy Place?” Have we as believers forgotten that God is Holy? It would seem that we have and that question that David is asking, if asked by us today would be more like “How can I be happy?” in fact it would seem that that most of mankind is seeking happiness from God instead of pursuing a right relationship with God.
I hear people say all the time “God just wants people to be happy” and I think that is not an accurate statement in fact I have never been able to find such a statement in the scriptures. What it does say is….
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God
God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of Go
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs
Did you catch that…Blessed not happy. Did you see the words like “mourn” and “persecuted”? These words indicate hard times and struggles but that in those hard times we can have the joy of the Lord in our hearts not happiness. Our cultures screams to us, “Forget about being right with God, just be happy because that is what He wants and that is all that matters!” But what about character – Moral character?
That is the second part of this puzzle – “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully”
This speaks to something that is foreign to many people – actions and a heart that are pure. Few people are concerning themselves with purity or moral behavior. Instead it is an attitude of feel good, anything goes, be happy. This results in a perverse lifestyle that hinges on destruction and death. And it is not just the one with clean hands but the pure heart must be present as well. The term clean hands speak loudly of the outward life but the pure heart speaks to the inward. The outward is drastically affected by the inward. The condition of the heart will control the hands, the mind and all of the actions that come from them. When we give our hearts away to the things of this world whether it is the treasures like all the latest electronics that have taken over our lives or the fleshly pleasures that stimulate our bodies the result is – idolatry…some sort of idolatry…we have given ourselves away.
Let me end my ramblings with this passage. When i read this I can’t help but imagine an man on a horse, rallying his troops, preparing for battle, riding up and down the ranks shouting these words…
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. – Habakkuk 3:2
Father, Let this be OUR cry
Prayer is a Priority
1 Thess. 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Lots of folk act as though prayer is some cosmic mystery that only pastors can do. Prayer is simply communicating with God – listening and talking to Him. Prayer is something that we can’t afford live without. Intimacy with the lord through worship and prayer is essential to a healthy walk with God.
Believers can pray from the heart in their own words. If if you find this to be a difficult area for you, here are some basic principles to help you apply the truth of God’s Word to your life concerning prayer.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
Let’s break this down…
- Do not be quick with your mouth – Many times we come to the Lord God and our minds are completely on us and not the Lord; we are so full of “it’s all about me” that we forget that prayer is part of our worship. We are foolish in the manner in which we approach God’s throne. Remember Who you are talking to.
- Do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God – “Keep thy foot” is how this passage begins in the KJV and it is well put here. It means “Watch your step”. We should be coming a little more humbly…OK…a lot more humbly as we come into the Lord presence. Our hearts should be open and ears ready to hear. Warren Weirsbe says that Prayer, “Like marriage, is serious business. It should not be entered into lightly.”
- Let your words be few – It is not the quantity of your words or the length of the prayer but the quality.
I am reminded of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the temple (Luke 18:10-14), both praying yet the 2 men display completely different attitudes concerning their prayers. The Pharisee is boastful in telling the Lord just how great he is and that he is not like the awful, hated tax collector who by the way is so overcome by the guilt and shame that he carries with him that he is unable to even lift his face to heaven. He beats his chest out of sorrow and utters some amazing words – “Be merciful to me – a sinner”.
That is where I need to be.
Father, have mercy on me…a sinner – Amen
Almost forgot about this video. Thought people needed to see this. Praise the One Risen Son of God!!!
A Healthy walk with God Loves the WORD
Contrary to popular belief, the ultimate end of the Christian faith is not just salvation.
Psalm 1:2 – But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night
1 Peter 2:2 – as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow
It can’t be any plainer. We grow and are healthy by studying the Word of God. Then we can go back into the world and make a difference but not just out in the world – in our homes. It was a huge trend years ago to sport our WWJD bracelets but many professing believers couldn’t tell you what Jesus did.
We are to be more than believers – we are to be followers; we are to be disciples that requires studying the Word. Study to show thyself approved.
Sadly, there are few that study the Word, fewer that even read it and even less that allow the Word to guide them.
Look – Here is the deal. We spend all of our time reading romance novels, magazines, newspapers to keep up with the news, Facebook and Twitter of keep up with trends, we spend countless hours Tweeting using our iPhones and iPads.Yet we can barely find time to seriously check out God’s Word. If we spent half the time that we spend on our phones texting, Facebooking or gaming and got in the Word, how much different would our lives be? How different would our marriages be? How different would our families be?
We just read that we are to DELIGHT in God’s Word, to love it even when it steps on our toes or when it goes against the culture and our lifestyles. We DELIGHT in it because it keeps us on track and protects us. We DELIGHT in it because it it gives us instruction, wisdom, courage and power. Try getting all of that from COSMO.
Lord i pray that i would always have a hungry heart for you and feed daily on Your Word – Amen.