"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Monday, September 14, 2015

Marred in His Hands

"Just because you're drawing fire doesn't mean you're out of God's will." 
"This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 'Go down to the potter's house and there I will give you my message. 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. 
Then the word of the Lord came to me:...
'Can I not do with you as this potter does?' declares the Lord.

How often we hear only the good visible "blessings" of being in God's will! The riches, the peace, the rewards, and all the joy. Everything is happiness! We evaluate the physical, the appearances, the circumstances. We consider only the external. Everything working out perfectly in and for our personal lives. 

Yet, continually God's Word paints an internal transformation which often involves pain and suffering, tears and brokenness, and definite marring. The same question comes from our precious Father, 
"Can I not do with you as this Potter does?" 

Faithful servants celebrate
Faithful servants testify with a resounding "YES!" encouraging others to let Him "shape you into another pot, shaping you as seems best to Him! 

But our own expectations remain jarred with these words: "the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in His hands". 

How can that be? 
Why would a loving God allow such a thing?

Or we hear...
This can't be of God...
You must be out of God's will... or worse...
He isn't a very faithful God.

"marred in his hands..." 
Jean Barsness' story
Recently, an elderly missionary friend shared the rest of her story. 
Surrendered to the Lord while very young, she felt his call to "Go" to a foreign country to proclaim the gospel. She obeyed. She prepared and was sent. 

In the center of God's will, obedient to his call...all going as expected with language studies and cross-cultural changes. She was in His hands.

Then, she was marred.
Shocking news that her beloved husband had been murdered. Stabbed 11 times and left in a gutter along the canal. 
Cracked, broken, wounded, hurting, not understanding...she was marred.

Jean Barsness
At first, she may have questioned her marring, but with strong determination and by faith, believing God was her Potter, she blindly trusted Him. She had begun her journey with the prayer: "Anywhere, Any time, Any cost"; her life remained in his hands. 
Through the years that followed, she experienced His shaping her into another pot.

Now...40 years later, she stands before a crowd who admire such a beautiful pot, a strong pot, and a very used pot. 
A pot that has carried many other lumps of clay to the precious hands of her Potter.  
Her Potter was faithful. 
He continued to keep her 'in His hands", forming her into another pot, shaping her as seemed best to Him. 

And our 2015 Home Coming Celebration ended with her beautiful words...
"all for HIS GLORY". 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Reflecting His Friendship

I learning that Life's trek takes on a variety of challenges, storms, peaceful sights or rainbows, yet races forward like a steam engine. Each scene creates emotion, an effect on the soul, and leaves behind a variety of memories.
The Guide's companionship offers an awesome quietness of soul as I gaze beyond the horizon, and steadily leads me gently over rough and jagged terrain.
I've learned that the empty pages in a journal may speak even more loudly than many words on a screen. My personal hard copies are full of praise for His faithfulness and goodness, although often tear-stained pages show my struggles to follow without fear.
Yet, for more than a year I've enjoyed many hours of refreshing JOY in solitude oasis, PEACE and rest beneath His everlasting arms, and found a quiet GENTLENESS develop in following Him.

Encouraged by the Prayers of Blessing from a fellow hiker, I began to flip through my handwritten journal of Affirmation Prayers.
What pleasure I've found in the beams of sunlight which have brightened my summer trek with simple biblical words such as 'clothed', 'pleasing', 'once for all time', 'perfect', and, most of all, "FRIEND". My hand has become more comfortable clasped my Father's welcoming hand, and bathed in a deeper sense of confidence, my steps have found sure footing on the rugged path a culture continues to carve on this mountain path.

These Affirmation Prayers are statements of TRUTH directly from the Word of God which I have made my own by thanking God for each of them and applying them to my daily life. This is the walk of FAITH. Each prayer is a new step of believing God's declarations. All these passages are confirming my bold belief in His intent for me to know Him personally and intimately in unbroken and intimate relationship.

Admittedly, these months have been lonely. Gray shadows tugged my spirit forcing determined slashes through the tangled underbrush of a deceitful culture. Snags and scrapes made me recall an epic burdened pilgrim side-tracked by interlopers and destroyers of faith, yet my 'Faithful' comrade witnessed deeper gratitude in affirmation prayers.
Conversations with the Father became more confident as I repeated His Son's precious words of promise. I heard him whisper his bold declaration, "You are my Friends" (John 15:14) and turned many times to my Friend's recorded requests for me in the Garden prayer. (John 17)

Being a child of God means ACCESS into His throne room any time and for any reason!
He is my Father. He is my Friend.

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...There's just something about that name...
Master, Savior, the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...Let all heaven & earth proclaim
Kings and kingdom will all pass away, but there's something
about that NAME!" I praise His precious name!