Jeremiah 18 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Potter and the Clay
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
I am clay. Continuing to reflect upon this last year, I've come to realize "I am clay." God is the potter. I am a vessel that He is creating, as He is with all of us.
Genesis2:"7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."
It's amazing enough to think about God creating us from dust, but He also is creating us in our soul (our inner being) our mind, our will and our emotions; and if that were not enough when we believe in his Son Jesus - we receive the Holy Spirit and He continues to shape us, to mold us, to develop and transform us into His glorious image!
We will never have some qualities of God, like being Almighty, omniscient or omnipresent; but we can grow into the qualities of his divine love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, patience and self control. We can obtain hearts that serve and give sacrificially, not just out of duty.
It is seasons as in this last year dealing with student sin, dealing with the illness of my wife and caring for our daughters and many other disappointments and hardships that I have felt stripped down, pounded on, tested through flame and cut to the heart and soul - I am clay. I've been stripped down and through this I have discovered (in my times of solitude with God and his word) that there are vulnerabilities, weaknesses and insecurities that have been covered up by clay that I shaped into a mask to hide such things. Where is my fear? Where is my anxiety? Who am I? What is my identity really? There are layers here friends. We all have layers. We are human. We are sinners.
Since I have taken time to slow down (really forced to slow down) and find a place of solitude and silence, to pursue my relationship with God and not just work for Him, I am faced with myself in the presence of a Holy God. I have only Him to compare myself to. Yikes! He is Holy! I mean He is really Holy! I am, well, a man, a sinner who has been trying to work hard to build His kingdom, but He lives in me and I need to nurture that relationship; as God is desperately desiring. I am a single stone in His kingdom. Christ is the foundation upon which I stand. But if I don't let God chisel me to size and shape, I will be a stone only worth casting away. I need to keep my first love, Jesus. Only then can I do the work HE calls me to. It is then that I will cease to please men and even myself. My identity will be in Jesus and my reputation will be in his possession. This should offer me security that can withstand any storm - but there will be continued shaping by the potter, until I reach completion on the day I stand before Him.
I am clay. As I am vulnerable and sharing my weaknesses with others - God's light will shine through the cracks. If I keep covering up the cracks to seem like I have it all together - his light will not shine so brightly. I've been fearful of what others will say if they see my cracks, my weaknesses, my faults - but now when they do see, I will boast of Jesus. This is all that I have and all that I am.
We have such a creative God. I look at the created things of this world and even at myself and I am amazed! Awestruck wonder. How does God do this? I mean create something out of nothing.
We are created in God's image. Amazing! And part of that is re-creating and designing beautiful images, scultures, paintings, stories, architecture, landscaping, drama, music... to glorify God. At Urbana12 I attended the Art Lounge. I feel so at home when I am able to be around other artists who use their gifts and talents in proclaiming the wonderful God and creator that we serve and especially those who can creatively proclaim the message of Christ.
Bette is an arts staff with InterVarsity. I sat in on one of her design discussions as she presented a painting series and opended it up for critique. It is a vulnerable thing for an artist to open up their creation for others comments. But Bette handled it with grace. It was amazingly devotional to consider the stories she told through her art. It made the viewer consider himself/herself in light of eternity and presented God's story in a way not always understood by someone just reading the words in the scriptures. Can you see God's story in full view? Eternity past and eternity future? A small moment in that plan enters Christ, he finished the work he came to do and now we wait for a future without sin, without pain, without death. We wait. Art opened up a new perspective on eternity. But art takes time to consider. We need to slow down wait, listen, feel and respond. I wish I could post Bette's painting here, but I don't have her permission. If you are gifted with any type of creative talent - I encourage you to use it devotionally. Meet with God. Worship Jesus. Allow others to do the same even if they do not have those gifts.
Jesus be glorified through art!
Today I practiced sketching pictures of Jesus by using pastels, cante` crayons and my finger. Art never really comes out as you imagine it in your head. It is sort of a discovering process and sometimes even the accidents turn out better than your own idea. What I am trying for is an image of Jesus that we can put in our living room. It reminds me of how Leonardo Divinci practiced drawing. We always think of him as a great artist. But to get there he sketched over and over again. His sketches of horses are what really intrigued me. So I plan on doing the same of Jesus... only I can't observe him directly. I can observe pictures that others have painted, but that is their interpretation. I can read the descriptions of scripture and I can pray for inspiration; but can I do justice to drawing such an awesome God? Well, maybe God would at least look at it as a parent looks at their childs drawing and posts it on the refrigerator. That would be fine with me. :)
Use your Talents today... bring God and yourself JOY!
So what inspires you? How do you express creativity? What captures you heart?
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