Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Beauty in the Artist's Hand

person molding vase

I read about a famous artist who had an unusual way of creating his masterpieces.

Working with a lump of clay, he formed a vessel on his potter's wheel.
When he was satisfied with the shape, he painted it , glazed it and placed it into his kiln. 
When the firing was completed, he lifted the lovely piece of pottery out of the kiln
 and put it into a burlap sack.  
Then taking a hammer he smashed the pottery to pieces. 
 Removing the pieces he spread them out before him on his working table, 
then with great patience worked to painstakingly fit them all back together.  
The vessel began to take shape again. 
 The cracks he filled in with gold, the gaps he closed with precious stones.  
When he was finished, he held  a vessel unique in its design and beauty.
 Truly a work of art that had great worth
  because there would never be another just like it. 

I saw the analogy immediately.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Potter's Hand in our mother's womb.
But then we are put into the burlap sack of this world.
The hammer of life comes down upon us.
We are crushed by sorrow and heartache, smashed into pieces by the sin and evil in this world.
Feeling destroyed and worthless, we cry out to the Lord !
With infinite patience, the Lord gathers together all our broken pieces and  painstakingly fits them all back together again.
He fills  the cracks with the gold of His mercy and the gaps with the precious stones of His  grace. His love is the glaze that makes us shine.
God,  as the great Artist, creates  us to be the Masterpiece He designed us to be.
We are of infinite value, fashioned for His glory and  fitted for the Master's use.

Have you given Him the pieces of your soul and let Him create a Masterpiece out of the brokenness of your life? 

Monday, August 5, 2019


Meditating --  It is easy to find  teachers and gurus eager to teach the practice of meditating - easy to find books written on the subject.  Articles are readily found on the internet on  'how-to' apply the  techniques that aid in 'emptying the mind' so that one can find peace and tranquility.

While those into meditating claim its practices are ancient,  they do not go back far enough.   God is the one who declared that meditating on His Word was what would make us successful in all the ways that count for this life and eternity!
But God's meditating is not to EMPTY our mind, but rather to FILL it. 
Satan is clever in taking what is God's and twisting it or turning it backwards for his own deception.

God's purpose of meditating is to embed  His Word into our hearts and minds and magnify our understanding of it. He gave us our imaginations to make meditating a wonderfully visual experience.

Let me share my morning 'meditation' on a familiar passage of scripture - Jesus' own words, from Luke 11:33-36.  It is the passage that speaks about the 'eye being the lamp of the body', and the body being filled with 'good' or 'bad'.
"The lamp of the body is the eye. 
Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. 
But when your eye is bad your body also is full of darkness."

A 'lamp'.   No one reaches for a lamp in the brightness of the noon day sun. A lamp is useful only in darkness . The light of a lamp reveals what is within the reach of its beam.
I imagined a street that lay in the darkness of a moonless night.
I saw in my imagination that two women  were making their way down the street, each carrying a lamp to light their way.
One swung her lamp to the left side of the street.  Her lamp revealed a garbage dump full of waste - a mess of the discarded remains of what was perhaps at one time useful to someone. 
The other woman swung her lamp to the right side of the street  to reveal a park-like setting with, benches, trees, flowers and a  market displaying tables of  fresh fruit and vegetables , from the bountiful harvest of surrounding farms.

I watch and realize that the two women each carry a basket.  The  two women  move to  opposite sides of the street and begin filling their baskets from what they find, one from the left side of the street and one from the right.  They then carry their baskets home and  fill their cupboards with the contents.
Later that day, I receive an invitation from first one woman , then the other, to come join her for dinner that night.

Which invitation do you think I will accept ?

Why did God use the analogy of a lamp to describe our 'eyes' ? 
We would walk in darkness if we had no eyes.  It is our eyes that allow us to 'see' what is around us. Our eyes open to us the world we live in.   We see destruction, we see evil, we see war and hate,  but we also see beauty and love and peace and harmony. 
Our eyes 'see' what we direct them to see.  What they have gathered is stored into the 'cupboards'  of our mind and heart and soul. 
Then when we invite people into our life --  we 'share' with them  from what we have gathered -   
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of this heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45

What we focus on we gather. What we gather is what we store.  And what we store determines who we become, and what we have in our 'cupboards'  to share with others.

As we go through our day, we direct our eyes to the 'left' or to the 'right'.    What will we focus on? What will we gather to put into our 'storehouse'  - our heart and mind ?   Will it be the good things of truth and righteousness and love - the things that are of the Kingdom of God  -  or -- will we gather the things that corrupt, that destroy , that fill our mind with unworthy thoughts , that stir in us a lust for things that do not edify, things that entice us embrace the world and make us vulnerable to the temptations and deception of the enemy?
Remember, you put in your basket  what your eyes focus on throughout your day, and the contents of your basket  cannot be simply dumped out when the day's journey is over,  but will be brought 'home to be stored in the cupboard of your heart'.. 

Do you need to clean out your cupboards today ?  Remove by God's forgiveness the things that destroy and corrupt ?
Do you need to change some habits ...  pay more attention to what you put in your 'basket' ?
Then, with His grace, focus on those things that fall into the list of Philippians 4:8 ... :"Finally brethren, whatsoever things ........."