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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bed of flowers
This literal flower bed is near Paradise, PA. Beautiful Celosia (cock's comb) in the center surrounded by white allysum and the outer border is pink begonias.
We passed it Tuesday on our way back from our trip to New Jersey.

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"Lessons From The Potter"

"Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message" (Jeremiah 18:2). "O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand" (Isaiah 64:8).

One of our favorite tourist attractions in New England is "Old Sturbridge Village", a re-created village from the 1830's. "Interpreters" dressed in period costume who are very knowledgeable explain what they are doing and answer questions from the guests.  We visited often when we lived up in Massachusetts. 

Potter and clayEster's favorite place was the Potter's House.  After entering the Potter's House she would squirm her way through the small, observant crowd so she could be at eye level with the artistic hands of the potter at work.  Brooksyne and I would eventually steer her out the door, but not without a heavy dose of persuasion that she'd spent enough time watching the potter.  After we'd walk out the door she'd inevitably begin to sing a chorus she had heard us sing in church many times:

Change my heart, O God.  Make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God.  May I be like You.
You are the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me, this is what I pray. *

Using her interest in the potter and the clay we sought to teach her, while at the same time reminding ourselves of another great lesson learned at another Potter's House about 2,600 years ago.

In the first daily text God Himself directed the prophet Jeremiah to go down to the Potter's House for a teaching lesson.  I expect God to teach me in the mundane experiences of life and He will if my eyes and ears are open to His deep spiritual truths.  The Master Teacher used the ocean, birds, fields and little children to teach lasting lessons.  In fact I often use observations in nature and life as a basis for these daily encouragements.

I am so personally blessed by the second verse. "O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand" (Isaiah 64:8).  God has not changed and the statement is directed to each of us as well and many a songwriter has made this connection. 

As God, the Master Potter, in His providential ways forms us; we do well to submit to His caring hands.   Occasionally the actions of the Master Potter may not make sense to us.  We may squirm or even complain.  The action of the Master Potter may be painful to us. We may even think we know better! But what spiritual peace and assurance comes when we willingly place our life in the caring hands of the Master Potter and say, "You are the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, this is what I pray."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, too often my heart becomes hard, unpliable, and unmoved because of my stubborn will or due to my ignorance.  My pride wells up in me convincing me that I know more than You, my Creator, and I've become reckless along the way.  Yet deep in my heart I know that I can trust You as my Potter when You break me to remove my imperfections.  Though it is a painful and deliberate process I invite You to take charge as You breathe new life into my soul.  You show me the better way and You faithfully guide me as You mold me into Your Image.  As I go through this purifying process I want to firmly stand during the testing periods of my life.  I want to be a vessel of honor that will bring glory to You.  In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Here are four truths concerning the Master Potter:
1) The Master Potter is in control.
2) The Master Potter is "hands on" (genuine pottery products are not mass-produced).
3) The Master Potter takes time and changes His work a number of times in ways that can be mysterious to the observer as he works on the finished product. As "living pottery" this time and changing can be mysterious to us as well!
4) The Master Potter has the ultimate good in mind for His work.

No Fish Story: Yesterday I received a note from Bill Mosebarger, a long-time friend and avid sportsman from northern Pennsylvania who had noted from yesterday's message that we went fishing on Tuesday morning. He asked if we caught anything (I am pretty sure he knew the answer to that!) Fishermen always share stories of the catch if they catch something.

Actually I caught one tiny sea bass (about 4 inches long). The mate released it before I could even get a picture taken with it. I figured with photo shop I might be able to do something with it at least!  It just wasn't good fishing and most on the boat caught nothing. However Ester went and to her credit really stayed at it. I want to take her again when we can catch something, which for me is the real joy in fishing.

Here's the best fish photo I have; a striped bass I caught in Chesapeake Bay several years ago. Now here's a fish photo any fisherman would be proud to have; a Palomino trout caught in upstate Pennsylvania by our friend Rick Steudler or this striped bass caught by Jerry, a frend from one of the companies we serve.

Beach tags: Yesterday we referred to "Beach tags", which are a means of funding the use of the beach. Some beaches are free, others require these tags.

Our flowers are pleasurable sights around our house and
we will be sharing many photos the next several weeks.

Dottie in barn door

We don't share as much about our cat, Dottie, as we do 
our dog, Roxie, who tends to have a bit more personality and of course has her pet therapy "ministry" in an area nursing home. Dottie now stays in the barn most of the time due to her shedding and tendency to claw our furniture. She likes to look out of the upper barn door and Brooksyne snapped this photo yesterday. Dottie is now eight years old, the longest we've ever managed to keep a cat, and seems quite content having the run of the barn. She was actually born in May 2001 in the summer kitchen of our rented farmhouse soon after we moved to Lancaster County. Early each morning I say to Roxie, "Let's go see Dottie" and she leads me out to the barn and sniffs Dottie while Dottie affectionately rubs up against her in a pet type of greeting.  They are good pals.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Change My Heart, O God"  Video 

* "Change My Heart Oh God" Espinosa, Eddie © 1982 Mercy Publishing (Admin. by Music Services)

"Have Thine Own Way Lord"  Video  A Vietnamese Church
A nicely done English version  Video

"Old Sturbridge Village"  Brooksyne shares another memory of a visit to Old Sturbridge Village here.

Note from Brooksyne: I can personally understand Ester's enthusiasm in watching a potter shape and mold the clay.  When I was a child growing up in Tulsa Oklahoma we lived near Frankoma Pottery in Sapulpa and I was spellbound as I watched the potters at work.  I remember from my childhood experiences and our visits to Sturbridge that the potter often took a piece of clay that he had formed into a lovely vase or pitcher and would suddenly crush it with his hands. He'd put it back on the wheel and start all over again.  Though the untrained eye could not detect a defect in the work the Master Potter knew it was there and would reshape the vessel so that the quality was pleasing to him and so that it would withstand the extreme temperature when placed in the oven.  It's a powerful analogy of what Christ does when He saves us from our sins and then applies His sanctifying work all along the way.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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