A Pinched Off Piece of Clay

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 33

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life…. Behold, I am toward God as you are;
I too was pinched off from
a piece of clay.

Job 33:4, 6 ESV

Have you ever tried making a “pinch pot” out of a little lump of sticky brown clay or have you ever attempted to mold a little clay pot on a potter’s wheel?

I actually grew up with two aunts and one uncle who are professional potters. I spent many hours admiring their work and attempting to make my own. Then a few years ago my oldest daughter and I went to a local pottery shop to try our hand at throwing coffee mugs on a wheel. Let me just say that these experiences have taught me to appreciate the skill involved with making incredible beauty out of a few handfuls of wet dirt.

In this passage of Job, two things jumped out at me.

1. God is the potter. God is who made us and He is who gives us life. He creates and shapes and molds us into what He desires. Friends, none of us are mere accidents. We didn’t just evolve from apes through a random series of accidents. Our lives have purpose. As Ephesians 2:10 explains, “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

2. All mankind is level before God. Though you and I each have a unique, intentional purpose, we are all equally pinched off from a piece of clay. (Job 33:6) God has fashioned us each to look different so that we might each accomplish the works which He has designed for us, but may we never boast as though we’re better than anyone else for we’re all just jars of clay made by the perfect potter. May this truth keep us humble before God and before our fellow man.

Let’s pray.

Oh, Heavenly Father, what is man that You are mindful of us? You know that we are dust. We are but clay in our potter’s hands. You have a divine purpose for each of us. May that truth empower us to go and do the works that You have designed us for. Keep us humble as we remember that we are equally Your creation, and give us courage as we remember that You have works prepared for us to do. In the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Praise to the One who Gave Me Breath

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Job 26-27, Psalm 150

With whose help have you
uttered words, and whose breath has come out from you?

Job 26:4 ESV

Let’s just ponder this one verse from today’s reading.

On the sixth day of creation, the Lord breathed into the first man, Adam, the breath of life (Genesis 2:7) and He’s been doing it ever since. Why are we so prideful, so self-sufficient, thinking that we are independent creatures who don’t need God? Truly, what do I have that I haven’t been given? Even the very breath in my lungs is a gift from God.

And to think of the gift of language, of thinking and speaking and communicating – with God and with others – oh, what a gift! As an educator for the deaf, I witnessed first-hand how desperately children and parents desire to communicate, whether using gestures or sounds or facial expressions. My 100-lb Aussie-Labradoodle is about as smart as animals come, but he can’t communicate nearly so well as my 20-month old granddaughter. God has given mankind a unique gift in the gift of language, so that we can hear from Him and speak to Him like none of the other creatures He has made on earth.

The final psalm, Psalm 150, is a psalm of praise, praising God with trumpets and harps and strings and pipes, praising Him with dancing and loud crashing cymbals, but oh the gift of singing words of praise and making declarations of spoken praise, telling of His mighty deeds! The Lord has put breath in my lungs and with it I will praise Him! As the final verse of the final psalm says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6) Will you join me in declaring aloud His greatness?!

Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, giver of life and breath, You are worthy of all our praise! You created the sun and moon and stars by Your will and by Your word. You hung the earth on nothing. You created the seas and everything in them. You created the earth and the sky and everything that fills them. What is man that you are mindful of us?

You are worthy of every word of worship, every song of praise, every beat of the drum, every blast of the trumpet, every clang of the cymbal. You are worthy! You are holy and mighty and good. All your ways are right and all Your ways are just.

We worship You in the glory of Your presence. We ask that You would make us vessels of Your glory and grace. We ask that You would make us declarers of Your praise! Use us, Lord! By the sacrifice of Your Son, we have been made temples of Your Holy Spirit. Make us pure and holy vessels for You.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord, we pray. Amen.

Great are You Lord

The Humility of Joseph

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 40-41

Joseph answered Pharaoh,
“It is not in me;
God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Genesis 41:16 ESV

I love how God works within space and time to reveal Himself to people. Shortly after reading Genesis 40-41 for my daily Bible reading, I received an email about an article that was published by Premier Unbelievable about my testimony of coming to faith in Christ out of atheism.

In reading Genesis 40-41, I was struck by Joseph’s humility, his insistence that it was God, not him, who revealed the meaning of dreams. Joseph easily could have become puffed up and patted himself on the back for his accomplishments, but he didn’t. You find this same humility in Daniel and Peter and John and Paul.

“Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.””

Daniel 2:19-23 ESV

“While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name–by faith in his name–has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

Acts 3:11-16 ESV

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 ESV

I pray that I would do likewise, that when the Lord opens a door for me to speak or serve or act for His glory that all the glory would go to Him and Him alone for He is the only one worthy. All that I am and all that I have is a direct result of His grace that He has lavished on me, a sinner.

I am a sinner saved by grace. I am just a beggar telling you where to find bread. It is only by God’s mercy that I can do anything. He has caused me to be born again to this living hope and I am eternally grateful. His grace compels me. His power gives me strength. His mercy allows me to be merciful.

Let’s pray together.

Oh, Heavenly Father,

Apart from Your grace, we are all just filthy rotten sinners. I remember who I was – I wanted to be good, I wanted to do right, but I could never do it. Everything I did was tainted by conceit and pride and selfishness. I was lost and without hope. I lived under a cloud of fear and darkness.

You have saved me by Your grace. You have taken what was dead and made it alive. You have taken my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh. And all I can cry is HOLY! WORTHY! Worthy are You to receive all glory and honor and praise. Worthy is the Lamb. You are WORTHY!

My worth is not in myself – not in what I can say or do, not in what I have said or done – my worth is in YOU. You have made me worthy. You have called me YOURS. You have brought me into Your kingdom and set my feet on the rock. You have brought me to Your banqueting table and spread Your banner of love over me. Thank you, Father. Thank You.

In the Mighty and Merciful Name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

My Worth is Not in What I Own – Fernando Ortega & The Gettys

Carried to the Table – Leeland

My Favorite Passage of Scripture

I love the writings of Peter because he’s so outspoken and quick.

I love the writings of John because he’s so fixed on the mutual importance of truth and love.

But I have a special place in my heart for Paul because he was once a blasphemer and opponent of the gospel like me.

Every time I read Paul’s letter to Timothy, his child in the faith, I am reminded anew of God’s unique calling and purpose for me and how greatly His grace and love have overflowed in my life.

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1:12-16 ESV

Does your testimony sound different from mine and Paul’s? Were you never a persecutor of Christians and an opponent of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Great news! God still has a unique purpose and calling for YOU! God still wants to use YOU as an example of His perfect patience.

Whether you grew up from infancy surrounded by Words of Truth whispered over you as you slept, or you walked in utter darkness until adulthood, the light has come for you. Now go and share the good news with others this holiday season. It’s never too late to tell someone about the saving faith available to all through trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

2 Timothy 2:8-13 ESV

Uniquely Made – includes audio

mixed-race twins
Two sets of very unique twins

God has a unique purpose for each of us. We need to hear this today more than ever. God is particularly glorified in the incredible variety of gifts, talents and colors of the people He has created in His image.

This is part 1 of a 2-part series, “Unique and United.” Check out part 2 “United” tomorrow!

The beauty of this song is magnified by the beauty of the unique individuals joining together to worship God.
Thankful for each of these unique creations!