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A Lamp For My Feet

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

When I picture God’s word being a lamp for my feet, my twenty-first century mind imagines a lamp shining a bright path at least ten feet in front of me. However, scripture was not written by a person with a twenty-first century mindset. This passage was written by a person with a first century mindset. Their lamps were very different from ours.

When I visited an ancient town in Israel, I was given a first century lamp as a souvenir. These lamps had the capacity to shed light one foot in front of the person carrying them. It was just enough light for the person to be able to stop themselves from an injury directly in front of them, but not nearly enough light to see further than the next step ahead.

This metaphor vividly portrays the concept of living by faith and not by sight. This concept emulates not worrying about tomorrow but trusting in God’s sovereignty and control. We may not know our future or be able to control the circumstances around us, but God’s word gives us enough light to walk through every moment under His protection. His word will guide and direct our steps. We just have to believe He will continue doing so for every consecutive step.

Be blessed,

Noree

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.epalladioartworkshop.com/OILLAMPS/index.htm

When Life Overwhelms Us

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14: 22-23, NIV

I’ve recently thought about all the “hats” that a mom wears. Wouldn’t it be something if we tried to wear them all at once?  Our responsibilities are myriad. As a chef, we don an apron for our cooking role. We put on fashion wear to meet the beauty standards we’re held to. We could carry a children’s book to show how we should be reading to our children, with a robe over the whole mess for the romance we need to put into our marriage. Wait!  We also need a checklist and calculator to frugally stay within the household budget. Of course, we can’t forget our workout gear because we need to stay healthy. Let’s also carry a Bible for our daily devotion. I think we may need a few more hands!  A 2013, Business Insider article reported that “Based on the 10 most time consuming tasks listed by more than 6,000 mothers, Salary.com estimated it would cost $113,586 a year to replace them.”  That is a lot of responsibility!

    I could go on, and on, and on. Do you know how difficult it would be to walk around outfitted for all those different roles at the same time?  Often I become overwhelmed with the expectations placed on me. Instead of looking to Christ, who promises his yoke is easy and his burden is light, I put a magnifying glass on my own life and my own problems. Can you relate?  The problem is self-focus.

    How identifiable Peter is to me. He so desperately wants to be close to God and the work He’s doing.  But he becomes overwhelmed by his own earthly circumstances and physical limitations. Jesus responds immediately and catches Peter’s hand, reminding him of His power right away. He asks why Peter doubted. I suspect it’s a gentle reminder to keep the focus on Jesus instead of the circumstances that so easily overwhelm us.

    This week, keep your eyes on the real priority, Jesus. All those other pieces fall into place when I’m focused on Jesus’ perspective. He will immediately reach out to help me.  And when my faith falters, I’ll just trust Him, a life preserver in the middle of an ocean.

In Him,

Amy

Like Clay in the Hand of the Potter

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” 
Jeremiah 18:3-4 NIV

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Old Testament who had the challenging task of proclaiming to the Israelites that they would be destroyed in divine judgement. One day the Lord spoke to Jeremiah and told him to “Go down to the potter’s house” Jeremiah 18:3 NIV, to witness a man working at the wheel. To picture this scene, we can imagine that Jeremiah most likely went down the grassy slopes of the Valley of Ben Hinnom near the Potsherd Gate (overlooking the dump for broken pottery). At his house, the potter began shaping a piece of clay at his wheel and it became marred (the Hebrew word means “ruined”) so the potter took the same clay and formed it into a new pot. The Lord then gave Jeremiah a message based on the scene he had just watched. “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? … Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand” Jeremiah 18:6 NIV. This hopeful message meant that even though Israel would be destroyed, God would keep his promise and renew them. The verses here are specifically about Israel, but the Bible also shows us that this metaphor about clay is universal. Isaiah 64:8 NIV says “you are our Father; we are the clay and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Even though this is an Old Testament story, we can still learn from it today. What strikes me most about these verses is that the potter did not repair the clay he was working with when it became ruined, but he formed it into a new vessel. This means that when we are broken, God does not piece us back together and repair the cracks, but uses the same clay to make a whole new pot. It means that we can be healed completely from our brokenness if we surrender our lives to God and let him mold us. Psalm 30:2 NIV says “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Amen to that! Sometimes we struggle for years over something that we feel we can never overcome, but with the realization that healing from these bonds can only happen with the power of God, we put our trust in the right place and find victory through Christ.

In Christ alone,

Erin Tabor