In my last bible study, one of the ladies shared a story that she had run across. I thought I would share it with y’all. I pray that it will give great encouragement to anyone in the midst of a fiery trial.
There was a couple who took a trip to England to shop in a beautiful antique store to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They both liked antiques and pottery, and especially teacups.
Spotting an exceptional cup, they asked “May we see that? We’ve never seen a cup quite so beautiful.”
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, “You don’t understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me, pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘Don’t do that. I don’t
like it! Let me alone.’ But he only smiled, and gently said, ‘Not yet!’” “Then WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. ‘Stop it! I’m getting so dizzy! I’m going to be sick,’ I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, quietly, ‘Not yet.’”
“He spun me and poked and prodded and bent me out of shape to suit himself and then… Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I yelled and knocked and pounded at the door. Help! Get me out of here! I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head from side to side, ‘Not yet.’”
“When I thought I couldn’t bear it another minute, the door opened. He carefully took me out and put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. Oh, that felt so good! Ah, this is much better, I thought. But, after I cooled he picked me up and he brushed and painted me all over. The
fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Oh, please, Stop it, Stop it!’ I cried. He only shook his head and said. ‘Not yet!’”
“Then suddenly he put me back into the oven. Only it was not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I just knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. I was convinced I would never make it. I was ready to give up. Just then the door opened and he
took me out and again placed me on the shelf, where I cooled and waited ——- and waited, wondering “What’s he going to do to me next?” An hour later he handed me a mirror and said ‘Look at yourself.’ “And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me, that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful!’”
Quietly he spoke: ‘I want you to remember,’ then he said, “I know it hurt to be rolled and pounded and patted, but had I just left you alone, you’d have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I know
it hurt and it was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life. If I hadn’t put you back in that second oven, you wouldn’t have survived for long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. Now you are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”
The moral of this story is this: God knows what He’s doing for each of us. He is the potter, and we are His clay. He will mold us and make us, and expose us to just enough pressures of just the right kinds that we may be made into a flawless piece of work to fulfill His good,
pleasing and perfect will.
So when life seems hard, and you are being pounded and patted and pushed almost beyond endurance; when your world seems to be spinning out of control; when you feel like you are in a fiery furnace of trials; when life seems to “stink”, try this….
Brew a cup of your favorite tea in your prettiest teacup, sit down and think on this story and then, have a little talk with the Potter.
– Author Unknown
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
(1 Peter 4:12-13)
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
-1 Peter 5:6
There is a devotion in The Women’s Devotional Bible written by Beth Donigan Severson that has given me much needed visuals during seasons of my life that prove challenging. If I may, please allow me to paraphrase it for you.
Claude Monet’s painting the Water Garden is painted in the round in Paris. As you stand in the
middle of the room and turn around the garden engulfs you. Then as you study the piece, one of the hidden surprises is that the majority of the canvas is filled with dark blues, blacks, and greens. These colors lie in stark contrast to the lighter pastels of the flowers. However, the painting does not translate as dark and dreary but as light and full of life. The darker shades actually enhance the lighter ones and the pastels are what your eyes rest on.
Severson relates this painting to the colors of her life. Often times we focus on the darker times so much we fail to see the blessings staring us in the face. God has a purpose for each stroke he breathes across our canvas… the difficult and the happy ones! He allows the dark blues and blacks so the pastels stand out more. When we know this, we can look back on
the times when we are misunderstood by those we considered to be our friends or when our dreams for our children are crushed or when a physician tells our precious parent there are no more options and begin to see God’s “handiwork in creating a brilliance of color and beauty from pain and suffering”.
She also writes that “just like the water lilies in Monet’s masterpiece, God keeps the leaves and petals afloat through the muck, wind and rain that are part of the storms of life. Water gardens survive April showers and worse, and I will too, by God’s help and grace.”
Isn’t that just a great analogy to life! When God is in it, it’s all used for our good! I personally have trouble seeing the pastels sometimes when I’m in the middle of the muck, but that’s when God shows up and reminds me He is there through it all … just hold on a little tighter! He has me and He is NOT letting go! What better promise could we hear than that!
I just finished my first semester teaching at Central Carolina. Now, keep in mind I have a special education and early childhood background. I’m not used to “big kids”. So, I studied my curriculum diligently and very carefully, (big kids ask more difficult questions). I also tried to stay prepared and be two steps ahead of the class in reading, projects, etc. Now, I was ready to impart from my infinite wisdom and experience to these eager, sponge-like minds. Visions of leading these students to a life in educational grandeur were very intoxicating. But, as the semester went on I suddenly realized I was the one who was doing most of the
Here are some of the lessons I learned…
“I thank my God every time I remember you. “(Philippians 1:3)
This past week I had to deal with a lying issue in my house. It’s interesting how one person can interpret something as a lie while another person can interpret it as…well, not a lie.
Let me explain. A particular child was told that he would not be allowed to go somewhere he really wanted to go until his room was clean. As said child was getting ready to leave, I asked if his room was finished. He said, “Yes.” Knowing him as I do I decided to ask a more specific follow up question, “Are you sure it is clean to my standard?” He assured me it was.
After he left, I had to walk by his room to do something. I glanced into his room and when I did, I felt my blood pressure rise. In fact, if I had been wearing a blood pressure cuff, it would have exploded.
There is no doubt that my definition of clean and my “soon to be grounded for life” child’s definition of clean are very different. However, even he knows that if his room looks like a category 5 hurricane just blew through, it is not clean!
I rehearsed over in my mind what I was going to say and do to him when he got home. Then God gently nudged me. Oh, I hate it when He does that because I would so rather deal with someone else’s sin issue than to deal with my own. He reminded me of a few things that He had showed me when I was writing a bible study this past year. Thought I would share it with you – I don’t like squirming alone!
We know that telling a false statement with the intent to deceive is lying. For a lot of us, we tend to break lying up into three categories: a blatant lie, a necessary lie, and a little white lie (emphasis on little and white).
Shame on those who tell blatant lies; we have little tolerance for them. We only tell lies when it is necessary…like to keep a friend from getting her feelings hurt. For example, instead of admitting that we forgot to show up at a friend’s house for a “whatever” party and risk her
being upset with us, we explain that there was a serious emergency that we had to tend to and we are so sorry because we really wanted to come. Never mind the fact that lying to her will hurt her feelings and will make her more upset with us – even more so than if we didn’t lie to her to keep from hurting her feelings…whatever, you get the picture.
Then there are those little white lies. These are somewhat controversial. There is confusion as to when what we say actually crosses the line and becomes a lie. Is 40% truth and 60% lie an actual lie? What about those half-truths? You know, the 50-50 ones? Into what category do they fall? Exactly how much truth do we include in our telling in order for it to be counted as truth and not a lie?
Anyone else besides me sweating?
The truth of the matter is this, if something is not true it is false. Now, let’s not muddy the water here with the “but what ifs.” If I tell my husband that I am going to the grocery store, when in fact I am going to pick up his new golf clubs that I am giving him for his birthday, am I lying? The answer is, “Yes.” But, later I will have no problem telling him what I did. My intent was to surprise him not hurt him or keep myself out of trouble.
Here is a good way to measure whether I am falling into sin or not – what is the intent of my heart? If I have no qualms about “confessing” that what I said was not true later, chances are I’m not falling into sin. On the other hand, if I cannot easily “confess” or if I have no intention of “confessing” later, chances are I have just nose-dived into sin.
Proverbs 6: 16-19 says, “ There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
God puts lying and murder in the same category of things He hates. Nowhere in scripture can I find a verse that differentiates between blatant lies and white lies. I looked hard; trust me.
So, in light of the nudge I got from my Father, I decided to dole out my child’s punishment with more grace and humility. Maybe being grounded for the rest of his life was a bit too harsh. I decided on a week instead. I also decided to be more diligent in evaluating the words that come out of my mouth so that I might please my Heavenly Father and so that I might train my children to be lovers of truth by setting before them an example of a mother who strives to be truthful in all she says.
Have a great week!
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