Bible Top 1000

Work Of The Potter
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"Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it."
(Jeremiah 18:3-4)

It's an amazing sight to watch a potter shape a vessel. His clump of clay will only become successful if it's placed in the very center of the wheel. Then once the clay is centered, the skill of the potter can be realized.

The potter carefully wets his hands, selects his clay, and places it on the wheel. As he begins to turn the wheel, the lumps in the clay are revealed. Spinning the wheel faster, he smooths out the lumps, and the clay begins to take on an unruffled appearance.

But this is just the first part of the task. He then will shape the mass of clay so that its heart is perfectly aligned with the very center of the wheel. This requires both strength and a loving, delicate touch. This "centering" is the most important step in the preparation process, because it gives the piece strength and integrity.

Our spiritual walk with God is just like this. We begin as a hunk of clay with many lumps, and through God's grace and skill, we are transformed into beautiful, strong vessels for His Kingdom.

But we must align our very heart with the center of God's will. God is always at work in our lives, especially during times of proper preparation. When we allow God to shape us, He will always use us for good.

Setting Examples

"Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example."
(Philippians 3:17)

When a coach sets out to teach his team how to master a certain sport, he'll usually demonstrate the different actions and plays to the players. He may appoint some leaders and encourage the players to study their form so they may "pattern themselves" after them. Then, after the best possible instruction has been given, each player must get in the game and work at it. It takes example, instruction, practice, and discipline to learn the game.

"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." 1Peter 5:2,3

In a deeper sense, the Holy Spirit seeks through God's Word to coach us in the game of life. Every believer in Christ will want to master the task of being a child of God and will welcome the aid and instruction of the Holy Spirit. Our "Coach" encourages us to study the greatest example of all...the life of our Lord!

God also urges us to look closely at the lives of outstanding followers of Christ. We learn from great men and women of faith. He invites us into the fellowship of the church, where He provides examples of experienced Christians who can help us by advice and example better to play the game of life according to the rules of God.

"Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ." 1Corinthians 11:1

Paul wrote two letters to young Pastor Timothy that contained wise words of guidance and instruction for his ministry. Paul said (paraphrasing), "Timothy, remember that the grace of God has made you who you are today---a redeemed child of God in Jesus Christ. He's given you gifts of wisdom and leadership, and He expects you to exercise those gifts. You're trained and called to be in God's service. So Timothy, if someone belittles you because you're young, put them to shame by your mature words of faith and loving conduct in life."

"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1Timothy 4:12

Young Timothy was an inspiration to old and young alike, as he read the Scriptures and proclaimed the Good News of forgiveness through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. What an encouraging example for us to follow!

Today's a great day to be alive---for old and young alike, it's a day to learn, plan, accomplish, and set good examples. With vigor and enthusiasm in the presence of our precious Lord and Savior, we can accomplish much!

"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour." Ephesians 5:1,2

"Out of the Wreck I Rise"

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
(Romans 8:35)

God doesn't keep a man immune from trouble; He says---"I will be with him in trouble." It doesn't matter what actual troubles in the most extreme form get hold of a man's life, not one of them can separate him from his relationship to God. We're "more than conquerors in all these things." Paul's not talking of imaginary things, but of things that are desperately actual; and he says we're "super-victors" in the midst of them, not by our ingenuity, or by our courage, or by anything other than the fact that not one of them affects our relationship to God in Jesus Christ. Rightly or wrongly, we're where we are, exactly in the condition we're in. I feel sorry for the Christian who doesn't have something in his circumstances he wishes wasn't there. "Shall tribulation . . .?" Tribulation's never a noble thing; but let tribulation be what it may--- exhausting, galling, fatiguing, it's not able to separate us from the love of God. Let's never allow cares or tribulations to separate us from the fact that God loves us. "Shall anguish . . .?"---can God's love hold when everything says that His love's a lie, and that there's no such thing as justice? "Shall famine . . .?"---can we not only believe in the love of God, but be more than conquerors, even while we're being starved?

Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some extraordinary thing happens to one who holds on to the love of God when the odds are all against God's character. Logic is silenced in the face of every one of these things. Only one thing can account for it--- the love of God in Christ Jesus. "Out of the wreck I rise"---every time!