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Friday, February 1, 2013

Amish farm in snow
Amish farm in Lancaster County PA.

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"Treasures In Jars Of Clay"

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Broken cell phoneYesterday while I was visiting with a friend I looked down to see a cell phone on his desk with a very cracked screen. I wondered where it came from and was told it still worked. He turned it on for me and sure enough it fired right up! We began to muse for a few minutes about functional broken things and since we are both Christians we thought about how this might apply to our lives. Keith suggested the daily verse which prompted some study on  my part.

In a sense of course we are all broken, having bodies as Paul states in "jars of clay". But today we especially want to consider some of God's treasures who have especially dealt with affliction while serving Him.

JoniOne of the many better known people in this regard  is Joni Eareckson Tada. She has a brief radio spot on our local Christian radio station each afternoon which we both appreciate. Paralyzed after her diving accident in her teen years she devoted her life to serving the Lord and has had a wonderful impact on hundreds of thousands and most especially the disabled.

Fred and Wanda MooreOne of the first examples of this we recall in our own ministry was Fred Moore, who was probably about the age we are now when we met him at "Sunnyvale", our very first country church north of Springfield, Missouri right after we got married in 1976. Fred was a carpenter who assisted us in some improvements to the small parsonage that was our first home as a married couple.

Many years earlier Fred had lost his right arm a few inches above his elbow in an oil well accident. Yet he still managed to work as a carpenter with his left hand which was actually missing two fingers. We were amazed as we watched him drive nails into wood although neither one of us can specifically remember how he accomplished this feat! He was an overcomer with a positive faith-filled disposition. God used him to bless many people through his gift of music. Fred also is the source of one of our all-time funny memories in ministry. (See footnotes.)

Today's verse uses a powerful image in describing our physical bodies: "We have this treasure in jars of clay." The treasure spoken of in this context is the knowledge of Christ and of the ministry of the gospel of life. 

Incredibly, God stores this divine treasure in "jars of clay" (the KJV says, "earthen vessels"). What an interesting description of the outer man formed from the dust of the ground. The image is that of frailty and temporality. God often allows the vessel to be chipped and broken, that the excellency of the treasure contained, and of the power which that treasure has, may be all His. Later in the chapter Paul expresses assurance even as he is making an honest assessment regarding his physical deterioration, "though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).

I sure am blessed by the phrase, "to show this all-surpassing power" in the daily text. Consider God's steady, dependable and ever adequate power. It never wanes and is not in short supply. It is always adequate and sufficient for any critical situation we may face. This power is from God and not from us, so we needn't despair when we find ourselves weak, for that is when He is made strong.

Let us rejoice in God's marvelous provision of His all-surpassing power that is released in our lives today. Peter writes, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). Even though there may be shortages and interruptions of electrical power and other sources of this world's power, we can be assured that God's power is all-surpassing and far exceeds that of earthbound power. What a joy and peace today to rest in His all-powerful love and care!

Remember this important truth today, fellow believer, in regard to whatever you are dealing with.  God is at work in the lives of believers all around the world to advance His glory for "the grace that is reaching more and more people is causing thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:15).  May He work His power in each of our lives today, in these "jars of clay"!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it is an irrefutable spiritual truth that the human spirit is renewed and empowered day by day because Christ has chosen to store His treasure within us, His earthen jars of clay. It is because this treasure is stored within us that we do not lose hope or give up our faith when adversity strikes. Instead we show that this all-surpassing gift is from You and not of our own origin. We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us, empowers us, and sustains us!  Praise be to God!  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Use Me"  Video  Ron Kenoly

"Just A Closer Walk With Thee"  Video  Sara Evans This arrangement is a "flash from the past." Brooksyne's Note: As Stephen was playing this I thought for sure it was Patsy Cline singing. My dad played her music alot when I was a child. Sure enough, Sara Evans is imitating Cline's arrangement and voice. Does a nice job. And the words of this hymn classic spoke to my heart today.

"Jesus Use Me"  Video  The Cathedrals  An old song from our Bible College days. We recall singing the chorus around the altar.

In today's message I shared about Fred. Our greatest memory of Fred and his wife Wanda was actually a very interesting prayer request he offered one Sunday evening in a church service. He might be laughing with us from heaven as he recalls this story.

"The Heavenly Treasure in the Earthen Vessel"  Video teaching Andrew Murray  I sure appreciate the rich teaching of the preachers from the past! (This is a 26 minute reading from a chapter in his book, "The Spiritual Life")

Joni and Friends

Browser logosNew Feature: We are sharing articles we come across in the course of studying for these messages or just poking around the vast Internet. In most cases they are not necessarily related to the daily message but may be of interest to our readers. These articles will only be posted once and there will be new ones each post assuming we come across material that we feel may be of interest. (To see previous links use the archive version.)

Yesterday I was speaking to Mark, a friend who had also been to the March For Life last week in Washington. We were discussing our experience and he shared how he was involved in a prayer program concerning the abortion issue and wanted to place a poster in one of our area's large churches but was declined because the issue might offend someone. I had just read this article which relates: Bait & switch = bad idea. Forgetting to switch = really bad idea.

The University of Michigan Kicks Christian Club (Intervarsity) Off Campus because the group requires its leaders to be Christians!!!

Thousands are fleeing Syria every day. But I bet you are not reading this in the main stream media: They're being met by the Christians, who are taking them in, giving them food, shelter, and warm clothes. "It's just ministries banding together to be Jesus to them. We have met some new believers from Sunni Muslim background. They just openly say, 'I love Jesus. I love the Bible people. They're the only ones not trying to harm us.'" (Source)

Stunning decadence -
The pro-abortion group NARAL has just launched a bizarre new video that places abortion on the same moral plane as getting a haircut, picking a sweater, going for a jog or chewing gum—all, apparently, things that a woman can “choose to do with her body,” just like abortion. From here with a link to actual NARAL video (caution the video is disgusting)

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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