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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Click to enlarge

"Vessels Of Honor"

Message summary: May He work His power in each of our lives today, so that we may be vessels of honor 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). "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:20-22).

God's vesselA 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 first verse uses a powerful image in describing our physical bodies: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels".
The Precept Austin online commentary states, "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)."

Joni Eareckson Tada, paralyzed at 17 years of age 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."

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 the challenges you might be dealing with currently. 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, (Hebrews 3:13)

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: As we read the text today prior to the podcast reading this phrase from the 2nd daily text struck me: "
a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work".

Another interesting Scripture portion related to being God's vessel 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?"

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"A Vessel of Honor for God"  Click to listen on YouTube  Jim Wellborn

Today we will feature photos of our visit to Joshua Tree National Park which we visited last week.

Joshua Tree National Park cactus hike
While visiting Joshua Tree National Park we took several shorter hikes such as this one through a Cholla cactus garden. Stephen learned the hard way that touching these is not a good thing! A sign warned hikers, but he saw it a little too late.
Click to enlarge

Joshua Tree National Park skull rock
What do you suppose this rock is called? The answer is here.
Click to enlarge

Joshua Tree National Park slot canyon
Brooksyne walking through a slot canyon in Joshua Tree National Park. However these slot canyons are not nearly as remarkable as those we saw in Utah several years ago as seen in this photo or this photo.
Click to enlarge

Joshua Tree National Park lookout
A view from Keys View, a high point in the park (5,185 feet) with two snow covered mountains in the background and an eponymous Joshua Tree in the foreground. The park is 1,242 square miles, larger than the entire state of Rode Island (1,214 square miles). However this is much smaller than the largest national park in the contiguous US (lower 48 states). Do you know what park is the largest? (Answer is here)
Click to enlarge

We will share more photos of our visit to southern California in the next several days.

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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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