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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

God Can Use ANYTHING!: A Defeated Foe

God can and will use ANYTHING to speak to our hearts.  Join me this week as I share one of His creepy crawley visual aids!

 

A Defeated Foe

And the God of peace will soon crush Satan; He will crush him underneath your feet!

Romans 16:20

shoes-5Watching Darin finesse a snake out from under our steps was quite a show.  He started with a broom handle and then added the hoe for leverage.  It was mesmerizing … I couldn’t stand to watch but I couldn’t look away either!  He didn’t even have to ask what I wanted him to do with it … kill it!

The hoe struck precisely behind its head and as soon as I heard the plink of metal meeting concrete, I felt certain that the battle was over.  But was it?  I couldn’t believe my eyes … That reptile continued to coil, constrict and even strike!  My fear and anxiety didn’t lessen one iota even though I witnessed its head being severed from its body except for one thin piece of skin.  For all practical purposes, this snake was dead, but my mind had yet to notify my emotions of its new status!

It occurred to me that it’s much like this in the spiritual realm.  Jesus defeated Satan at Calvary; He gave the deathblow to the head, but he’s still writhing around causing trouble until the day when he is literally cast into the lake of fire.  Right now, he’s like a roaring lion, seeking to devour and destroy those who love Jesus.  He roars fiercely but he’s toothless!  He can cause us problems in the here and now, but his there and then is as good as done!  My question is this: do we live like we have a DEFEATED foe?

When Darin asked for the axe so he could finish the job, I was still squirming and shrieking, but I had to intentionally say to myself, “He is dead.  He cannot hurt me.  My husband is holding both ends of this dead reptile and he can do nothing to me.”  That may not sound like much, but it was hard mental and emotional work to bring my fears and anxiety into submission to the truth.

Oh, dear Sister, we do still live behind enemy lines, but we must live in light of truth and we find that truth in the Word of God.  We will endure difficulties; we must choose to endure hardship; and we cannot shrink back when disappointment, fear or persecution comes.  We must fix our eyes on Jesus and remember that the day is coming when God will crush Satan underneath our feet, and the roaring lion will be no more.

From my heart to yours,

Tami

Fearful to Fearless: Don’t Enter Fear

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 6:31, NIV

From Genesis to Revelation, God exhorts believers not to be afraid. Join me this week as we venture to be fearless in a world packed with reasons to fear.

 

Don’t Enter Fear

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 4:10, NIV

theatre-83862_640Our nation was in the throes of the Great Depression when President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a message of hope in his 1933 inaugural address: “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Roosevelt couldn’t have articulated it better. Fear paralyzes. It keeps us from moving forward regardless of the fact that most of the things we fear never happen.

According to a 2014 study by the National Institute of Mental Health, public speaking remains the long-standing number-one fear on the list of the nation’s top ten phobias. It makes sense: I’ve taken the platform in front of others throughout my life; I’ve acted in school plays, sung in choruses, chaired organizations, delivered keynotes, facilitated Bible studies, led spiritual retreats, participated in dramas, and presented monologues, yet there are still times when I hesitate to step into new speaking opportunities because of my fears.

A few years ago, I was asked to perform a role in our church Christmas drama. In spite of the queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, I accepted. Although I’d acted before, I couldn’t shake my fear. I had nightmares about forgetting my lines and dreaded the two upcoming performances.

The first night, I breezed through my lines in spite of my fear. The second night, despite my previous success, fear plagued me. Listening for my cue, I paced the hall outside the church sanctuary and prayed.  Frustrated with my inability to shake the nerves, I asked God, “What’s the matter with me? You’ve proven yourself faithful. Why can’t I trust you?”

His reply was quick. “You are trusting me.”

“How am I trusting you?” I said. “This doesn’t feel like trust to me.”

“You’re here, aren’t you? You’re doing it. You’re doing it afraid.”

He was right. (Of course He was. He’s God.)  On cue, I stepped out into that auditorium filled with people and delivered my lines. They were flawless. I did it. I did it afraid!

Trust is seldom comfortable. Trusting God doesn’t mean we’ll never be anxious or fearful. Trust is walking in obedience in spite of our fear―believing in God’s ability and relying on His strength when we can’t muster our own.

Does fear hold you hostage? Does it sabotage God’s best for you? God wants to protect us from unwarranted fear. Trust Him, even if you have to do it afraid. He knows what He’s doing. He will lead us to victory.

Starr