The Potter and the Clay February 20-24
Clay is a cheap material that remains worthless until it is in the hands of a skillful potter who can make it into something valuable. Like the potter, God lovingly molds His people into a vessel that He is proud to display. We do not begin as useful and worthwhile vessels; we begin as misshapen, unusable lumps of clay. Sin soaks into the very dust of our being; nothing we do can makes us clean. But then the Lamb of God comes. The resurrected Savior takes these earthen vessels, ready for the discard pile, and He redeems the seemingly irredeemable. In the Potter’s hands we face two choices—either to be soft and pliable, restored into useful vessels, or to remain stubborn and stiff, of little use in God’s kingdom.
Day 1 Jeremiah 18:1-6
Reflect: What did the potter do with the clay vessel and why? How would you describe the message God gave to the people through Jeremiah?
Apply: What is significant to you about the image of God as a Potter? Describe the condition of your vessel. Have you been shaped by God or do you need remade? Why? How?
Pray: Lord, help me to see life’s hardships as the Master’s hands shaping me more into the likeness of Jesus. Use my life for Your world and Your glory.
Day 2 Isaiah 64:8-9
Reflect: Consider the process of clay becoming a vessel. Describe the ways God has formed you. How does sin keep us from being shaped and useful to the Potter?
Apply: Are you presently in the Potter’s hands? Are you fully surrendered? How can you yield more to His love and purposes?
Pray: Loving Father, I come to You in humility of heart, asking that You make and mold me into a vessel that is pleasing to You.
Day 3 Ezekiel 36:24-32
Reflect: What is God promising He will do for the people? What does this reveal about God? What does He say will cause remorse of their sinful ways?
Apply: How has God brought you back to Him? Is your heart soft or is there hardness? How has God’s mercy and grace been a catalyst for you to recognize the gravity of sin?
Pray: Holy Spirit, reveal any offensive way in me. With godly sorrow, I repent of ___________. Father, thank you for forgiving me, for cleansing me, for restoring me in Christ.
Reflect: What is the primary message of these two passages? What do they say about God? About us? About our relationship with God?
Apply: When have you asked, “God, why have you made me like this?” Do you trust that God is shaping you as seems best to Him? What is your role in becoming an honorable vessel?
Pray: Father, I humbly come to You today, giving You all that I am. Mold and shape me to be a vessel filled with Your Holy Spirit to bring honor and glory to You.
Day 5 Ephesians 4:17-24
Reflect: Why is it so important for Christians to no longer live as the world lives? How does this impact the world around them? What is the process of being made new?
Apply: How does pursuing the things of the world harden you? Ask Jesus to reveal any old things you may be hanging on to and ask Him to give you the new things you need.
Pray: Jesus, by Your indwelling Spirit of Truth, renew my mind day by day. Thank You that in Your power to redeem, I can “put off” the old things of my flesh, and pursue a lifestyle of holiness and righteousness.
Put It Into Practice!
Lent is the Christian season of repentance and renewal. This year we are focusing on and studying the ways God accomplishes His redeeming work in and through us. The suggested “Put It Into Practice” exercises for this series are practices of spiritual devotion fitting for this sacred period of cleansing, contemplation, and renewal. Try them all, a few, or just choose one to practice this Lenten season.
Reflect – The ancient practice of reflection is a tool for looking back at your day and noticing where God has been present and at work, as well as to recognize things about yourself that may need to be reshaped by the Potter. During this time, spend a few moments in gratitude for the gifts and blessings of the day. Ask God to enlighten you about where His presence in your day. Examine the moments of your day, noticing your reactions to what has led to consolation and what has led to desolation. Seek forgiveness for the times when you have acted, spoken or thought contrary to God’s grace and calling for you. Resolve to change. Decide what in your behavior or attitude you will try to improve tomorrow.
Practice generosity – Just as Boaz, be generous with your money, food, time and talents to those in need. Carefully examine what motivates you to be generous under the shadow of the Cross, for almsgiving is of little value if we give only to relieve our conscience but remain indifferent to those in need.
Strengthen relationships – Help your family and strive to sacrifice of yourself for their benefit. Go the extra mile to maintain communication, to heal old wounds, and mend broken bridges. Learn to apologize and to put yourself in others’ shoes. Reach beyond your comfort zone by engaging with people who are different than you. Seek out the best in others and give the best that is in yourself. Remember Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, the loving Father, and the elder son.
Fast – Intentionally withhold something you would normally partake in for the purpose of creating space in your life to feast on the presence of Jesus “directly.” Fast from foods associated with “feasting”—chocolate, desserts, coffee/caffeine, alcohol, etc. Fast from media or entertainment: cell phone, TV, streaming video, radio, music, email, computers, video games, etc. Fast from habits and comforts—shopping, looking in the mirror, makeup, elevators, parking in a spot close to the store, finding the shortest checkout line, reading online, following sports, etc.
Confession – Allow the spiritual discipline of confession which leads to forgiveness, to be part of your daily practice. Before we can experience the full grace, healing and redemption made available through Jesus, we must turn from our sins and confess them to God. Dig deep. What sins of unfaithfulness to God do you need to confess?
Rejoice in the Lord— Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! On Sundays, if what you have sacrificed through fasting increases the joy of this wonderful day, then sacrifice it. If it does not, then do not. The joy of the Lord must be your strength!