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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sunset 5/8/16
The last several evenings we have enjoyed beautiful sunsets with the sun setting like a red rubber ball.

"God's Vessels"

Message Summary: May He work His power in each of our lives today, so that we may honor Him in these, our "earthen vessels"!

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"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves" (2 Corinthians 4:7).

God's vessel license plate
Saturday afternoon I drove into Lancaster city and saw the license plate in our photo. I immediately recognized the message and considered a chorus we used to sing:

A vessel of honor for God,
A vessel of honor for God,
Sanctified, holy, that I might be
A vessel of honor for God.

Today's verse uses a powerful image in describing our physical bodies: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels." "The treasure is the creational, transforming power of the Gospel placed into followers of Christ pictured as lowly, even contemptible
'earthen vessels' (as judged by what the world values)." (Precept Austin online commentary)

Joni Eareckson Tada, paralyzed as a teenager in a diving accident writes, "God is a Master Artist. And there are aspects of your life and character—good, quality things—he wants others to notice. So without using blatant tricks or obvious gimmicks, God brings the cool, dark contrast of suffering into your life. That contrast, laid up against the golden character of Christ within you, will draw attention . . . to Him. Light against darkness. Beauty against affliction. Joy against sorrow. A sweet, patient spirit against pain and disappointment—major contrasts that have a way of attracting notice. You are the canvas on which He paints glorious truths, sharing beauty, and inspiring others. So that people might see Him."

2 Corinthians 4:7
Incredibly, God stores this divine treasure in "earthen vessels". (The NIV states, "jars of clay"). 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 tested, worn, chipped, and sometimes broken, that the excellency and worth of the treasure 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 inevitable physical deterioration, "though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Let us consider the phrase, "the surpassing greatness of the power" in the daily text. Consider God's steadfast and ever sufficient power. It never wanes and is never in short supply. It is always adequate and sufficient for any 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 we are driven to depend on His strength.

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 almighty power is all-surpassing and far exceeds that of earthbound power. What a joy and peace today to rest in His all-powerful might and His tender loving 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, so that we may honor Him in these, our "earthen vessels"!

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 vessel 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 through the testing, wearing, chipping, and even the brokenness of our vessels of clay!  All glory and praise be to God!  Amen.

Study note: Another interesting Scripture portion related to being God's vessels is found in Romans 9:20-22: "On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, 'Why did you make me like this,' will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?"

Also 2 Timothy 2:20,21: "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."

Abandoned house, Columbia, PA 5/6/16
A rare sight in Lancaster County due to high property values is a "see-through house". We passed this see-through house south of Columbia, PA on Friday. The side view of the house revealed evidence of a house fire. In spite of a gutted out house the frame still stands. Interesting, in light of our lesson about earthen vessels being tested by the wear and tear of everyday use, chipped by careless handlers, and even tested by fire! Your vessel might not be too pretty or be sitting on a shelf with a hefty price tag, but if it's proven to be trustworthy over the years since you forsook sin and took up salvation your vessel is of eternal wealth which can't be purchased with money but only by the blood of Jesus Christ!

Baby robins 5/10/16
Here's a current photo of our baby robins taken this morning 5/10/16
You can view these photos on each previous message back to when there were just 4 eggs in the nest 4/28/16.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"A Vessel Of Honor For God"  Video  
Jim Wellborn  (This is the song quoted above)

"A Vessel Of Mercy"  Video  Legacy Five

"Vessel of Honor"  Video  Plummer Bailor

Finally today:

Rufus at blood drive 5/7/16
Rufus volunteers practically daily at the same supermarket where Ester works, often helping her bring in the grocery carts. Last Saturday we donated blood and met up with him doing the same. He has been a blood donor for
some 60 years since his early twenties! He kindly insisted that we step in line ahead of him since he had nothing on his agenda for the day.

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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