Truth in Love 16 January 2022

Recently, a friend led a devotional using the text from Jeremiah 18 about Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house. Scott did a really good job with his devotional, but as often happens when we are examining a particular scripture, I saw an additional area to explore that he didn’t have time to cover in his lesson. The particular text from the ESV is: “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.”
What immediately came to my mind was the story of my own life. There I was, created in the image of Almighty God for a purpose. Before my bones were knit together in the womb, God knew me and had a plan for my life. His desire for me as for all mankind was that I would come to know His great love for me and simply love Him back. Even as He looked forward to this relationship with me, He knew that I would fail. So, before I was born, no, even farther back, before He created the world, He devised a plan to reunite me to Him. That’s what I see in the potter’s house.
The potter began making a vessel with a specific purpose and plan for it. He was intentional about his design and probably a master at his craft. But the vessel was ruined. Maybe the wheel was a little off-centered or the clay had some imperfection in it, or perhaps his hand brushed against it accidentally. Maybe Jeremiah walking into his shop distracted him momentarily. At any rate, the vessel was ruined. Just like my life when I followed my own paths instead of allowing the Great Potter to direct my ways. My life was ruined. I had gone from being the absolute perfect vessel He envisioned me to be and become a ruined vessel of no use to anyone. But the potter didn’t quit and discard the ruined vessel and God didn’t give up on me! As the potter looked at the ruined vessel, he quickly began anew to remake the vessel into what he wished it to be.
There’s a clue in the next couple of verses that reads, “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.’” Perhaps the potter changed his mind and made it into a different vessel for a different purpose or perhaps he simply started over and remade the vessel he intended from the start. But he didn’t give up on his work — just like God didn’t give up on me.

Truth in Love 09 January 2022

This morning, there’s a chill in the air and the sun is shining. That’s one of my favorite combinations. It would be even more favorable to me if there was snow on the ground. Yes, I’ll admit it, I like the white stuff. When I see snow covered ground and roofs, i see possibilities for new beginnings. It’s like the snow makes everything look fresh and new again. Now, I have many friends who would rather see 85 degrees than snow and they have the right to their own opinions. I like warm weather too. But, on days like today, you can step outside for a breath of fresh cool air and then step back inside in front of a window and feel the sun’s heat soaking deep into your muscles. You may wonder, did Jesus ever come in from the cold to warm His bones? Let’s look at a few scriptures and see if we can find an answer:
Isaiah 1:18 reads, “’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” Apparently Isaiah and his readers were familiar with snowfall deep enough to cover over the ground. And in Jeremiah 18:14 God asks, “Does the snow of Lebanon ever vanish from its rocky slopes? Do its cool waters from distant sources ever stop flowing?” Job recounts, “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ (Job 37:6) The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 147:16, “He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.” And who can forget the wife of virtue in Proverbs 31? Verse 21 says, “When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” And while there are many more references to the heat and drought, there are several additional references to the white stuff as well.
So, since unlike the foxes and birds, the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head, there were probably many nights when He and His disciples slept out in the cold or searched for any available shelter from the wind and cold. What difference does it make? Why does it matter enough to write about it? Because it is just another way that God demonstrated His love for us. By becoming one of us, Jesus experienced the same things we do. Whether it was biting cold, or hot summer days, or even a broken heart because of a friend’s betrayal, He went through the same things we do. So, He understands. God could never experience our pain and weakness from up in heaven. So He came down to experience our lives. So, the next time you feel a chill in the air and wrap up a little tighter before ducking into a warm place, take a moment and thank God for His most wonderful gift.