Saturday, October 17, 2009
What do you do with your old cracked flower pots? Do you throw them away? Sometimes I turn them around so the crack is facing a wall or in a direction that no one will see them, and other times I bust them up and use the pieces in the bottom of another pot for drainage. I am so glad that God has another plan for His cracked pots; He actually uses those cracks to make His pots stronger! What we would consider an eye sore, He uses to create beauty. What we look at as a weakness in the pot, He uses to demonstrate strength…His strength. Sometimes He allows the crack to leak out some of the stuff in the pot so He can fill it up with something better…Himself. Other times He dumps everything out -dirt, plant and all, and begins again- new. But throw the pot away? Never!
We are God’s cracked pots. Some with more cracks and damage than others…but all cracked in some way. Many times the cracks are on the inside, away from view or they have been filled up with God’s grace over the years to the point that they no longer look like cracks. He will only allow us to be broken into pieces if He has plans to remake us into a more useful vessel. To put us back on the Potter’s wheel and reshape us into something better. Something He can plant His seeds inside and use to grow a thing of beauty. There are no pots He cannot use, no damage too great for Him to mend.
Have you ever seen a flower pot that is bursting with flowers of all colors, full and beautiful, hanging over the sides? That is His plan for each of His pots, for each life to be overflowing with the goodness of His will – cracks and all. Are you hiding your cracks? Have you turned them toward the wall in an attempt to keep others from seeing them? Dear sister, you could be hiding the very thing that God will use in your life to bring Him glory. It may be the very weakness that He will transform into His strength; the crack that allows Him the most access to your heart and the one He will use to shine His light through.
If you get to know me well enough, you will discover that I have many cracks. You will also learn that there are some I do not like to reveal immediately - usually the deep ones. Those are the ones I am tempted to turn toward the wall. I have been chipped a few times and those pieces have been lost along the wayside. I have at times been too weak to hold dirt or flowers, and at those times I felt pretty useless. I've been broken by sinful choices, and I've been tossed around by others; once I was thrown away. Then the Potter picked me up and put me back on the wheel and made me into something new, useful, and His. When I look into the mirror of my life, I still see some of the cracks in my reflection but they seldom bother me. Instead of reminding me of how they happened, they remind me of the One who filled them with His grace and mercy. Instead of fearing the future, I am excited about what He will plant in the pot next. Which beautiful flower will it be? Whatever it is He plants, I can be sure that He will use those cracks to make the plants stronger in some way and use them for His glory.
How about you, have you given God your cracked pot?
(2 Corinthians 12:9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
by Charlotte Foster
Just a little creamer,
May not seem much to you.
To me it represents a love,
That’s always fresh and new.
It comes to me in many ways,
Some simple and some not.
At times it’s unexpected,
And other times it’s sought.
Little trinkets of Himself,
To find when unaware.
Confirming in my heart again,
That He is always there.
He follows me to silly places-
My favorite antique store.
Reveals He knows my every thought,
And that He’s gone before.
For on my knees down on the floor,
And moving things aside.
I got a glimpse of something,
I got a glimpse of something,
That someone seemed to hide.
Around in back, behind a vase,
No, it just couldn’t be!
The red rim of a creamer,
My Father hid for me.
All alone it sat there,
No more useful role.
I didn’t mind because you see,
I own the sugar bowl!
Only He would know that,
And only He would care.
Only He could know that day,
That I’d be shopping there!
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
If He is so loving and good to us here, how much more can He possibly be preparing for eternity? I cannot even imagine!
Monday, October 12, 2009
How many times do you pass by something ugly in your life before you remove it? Obviously (for me) it is too many times! Today as I walked around my circular drive, spending time in prayer, I almost stepped on something ugly – a squished frog. Apparently he had lost his life to a passing car circling the drive, and well, he looked exactly like you would expect him to look after being rolled over by a 2-ton vehicle. I changed my stride long enough to step around him and continued walking. Round and round I went, each time looking down at that poor frog and thinking to myself, “Yep, there he is again! Yah, he’s an ugly mess.” Then I would step around him. After doing this several times, I began thinking about ugly things. How sometimes I get so accustomed to them, I allow them to be a part of my life.
On one trip around the drive I noticed an old leather glove that had been unearthed several months ago, still laying next to the driveway in the dirt. Today wasn’t the only day I noticed it. I noticed it every time I took my morning walk! It’s just another “ugly” thing I have grown accustomed to in my daily life. Today I took a picture of it for this post, because today will be the last day I walk by it. I’m pretty sure that while I walked and prayed, God told me to pick it up and throw it away! Not because He’s tired of looking at it or it really bothers Him so much, but because I think something else bothers Him more and He wants to teach me about that. Something more important than ugly old leather gloves or smashed frogs I step around on my daily walk.
I think He wants to teach me more about the ugly things I sometimes allow in my heart – the ugly little sins I step around (not to mention the big ones) and become accustomed to living with; like irritability and impatience. Whenever I do notice them, I just think, “Well, that is ugly!” Then I keep moving on without really addressing them, without asking God to remove them from my heart.
It was pretty easy to pick up the glove and throw it in the trash and to shovel up the frog and toss it over the fence into the pasture. The ugly things of my heart can be gone too, because God Himself promises to take them away if I give them to Him. Then as long as I don’t go digging in the trash to pull them back out, they will stay gone.
I know it may sound weird, but I’m going to keep the picture of the glove to remind me of this lesson today (I’ll spare you the picture of the frog). I love the way God answers prayer when I ask Him to teach me something. I never know what it will be, but I know it comes from the One who is Faithful and True; the One who loves me. It’s time I stop stepping around the ugly things in my life and remove them; apparently, this includes some irritability and impatience!
What is God teaching you today?
I could find no scriptures in the bible about ugly old gloves or frogs (except the ones in Egypt), but I found plenty about the heart. Here are just a few ~
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 138:23-24)
My son [duaghter], pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all esle, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:20-27)
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19)
Friday, October 9, 2009
It's Harvest Time (2007)
Yesterday I took my morning walk through the neighborhood. As I headed back up the last hill to my house and walked through the gate, I noticed the small vineyard on my right was overdue for picking. The grapes were here when the property was purchased – the benefit of someone else’s labor. The vines were loaded with fruit, probably due to the abundant rain this past winter. The birds were having a feast! It was now October and the grapes were ready to pick in September.
I remember the month as only a blur of activities. No time for harvesting the grapes and making jam. It made me sad to see the fruit there on the vines. The plants had done their jobs, but there was no one to bring in the harvest. Busyness stole away the time and energy.
I thought of the spiritual application of this situation. In Matt. 9: 37 Jesus is talking to his disciples about a different kind of harvest. He saw the multitudes around him ready to be gathered up and brought into his kingdom and he said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few;”
The rotting grapes in my little vineyard are insignificant compared to the fruit the “Lord of the harvest” has planted and watered in the hearts of those who need to be harvested into His kingdom. When the fruit is ready, that is the time it must be picked! Let us not leave the fruit to spoil on the vine because the workers are too busy with other things. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9: 38) Then let us pick up the empty baskets and be ready to go! I’m pretty sure it will be us whom He sends!
It is October – again! Why am I always so surprised when it comes around again, after all, it happens at the same time every year. I guess what surprises me is how fast it gets here. Can the days really be passing that quickly? I am happy to say that this year all (or most) of the grapes were picked and used (thanks to a friend). The birds did get a few, but only the ones stolen before they were ripe enough to pick. Sorry birds, you’ll just have to eat at the bird feeder instead!
I hope I am busier this year with the other harvest, the one I mentioned above – the Lord’s. I hope I am spending more time in prayer for the lost and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know him. That is one of the reasons I started this blog. Along with encouraging my fellow sisters (and any brothers who happen by), I want to share my faith in the One who is the Lord of the harvest and point those who are lost in the direction of the kingdom of heaven. Two years have passed since I wrote the devotion above; what have I done in those two years? Is my basket getting fuller?
People come into my life each year, just like the grapes come. I pass in and out of the vines of those lives as a worker under the authority of the Lord of the Harvest. Have I tended the vineyard faithfully or have I missed some of the grapes, or left them for the birds? When that final day comes, and I sit my baskets down, what will He say of me? Was I a good worker? I pray the baskets of my life will be overflowing with good fruit from the vineyard He assigned for me to tend.
How about you…what will be in your basket?
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Yesterday I saw two blogs displaying their gardens and they were encouraging others to join in on the fun. I thought, "What a wonderfull idea!" I love gardens and flowers...the beauty of the Master Gardener's handywork. I decided to join in on the fun today, except I couldn't find the link to those other blogs! They just disappeared! I know it was late last night when I came across them, but I don't think I was dreaming.
Instead of giving up, I decided to go ahead and share with you what the Lord planted into my life this past year in the way of flowers (and a few other things). He is so good to scatter seeds so liberally...even in places that were once barren and lifeless. He sends the rain to moisten the hard ground, and brings forth life!
The old, old apple tree was filled with blossoms and the
Morning Glories gave Him glory!
The Lilac's scent was heavenly!
A Rose of Sharon
Poppie seeds planted by the wind!
The yellow Iris' that came up purple! Even the garlic bloomed.
Out back where I watch the sunsets, my Father saying, "Goodnight."
And those who came to eat!
Thank you for taking a stroll with me through the garden God has planted in my life!
Friday, October 2, 2009
I’m glad I found his skin though. Now I won’t be caught unaware. I will proceed with caution; ready to step on his head (or run like the dickens) when he comes slithering out of hiding. I will be more prepared knowing he is here.
The skin is a good reminder to me that there is another serpent lurking in the shadows who wants to strike at me – the devil. He chooses the cherished and familiar places to attack when I am not expecting him. It is a reminder to be on the watch and be ready for his strike. Instead of lifting my foot or running, may I be ready with the Sword of Truth in one hand and the Shield of Faith in the other. And just like I watched my mother do when I was a child (more times than I’d like to remember), take the shovel (in my case the Sword) and chop off his head...in Jesus Name!
I must get back to the yard work I was doing before I found the snake skin and took this writing detour. I do try to stay on task until God allows things in my path like snake skins to veer me off. He uses them to teach me valuable lessons for my life. I am then compelled to share them…with you; hope you don’t mind dear sister.
What has God allowed in your path today?
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Eph. 6:11)
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
(Jesus said -) "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (then He gives this instruction) However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10: 17-20)
Above is my handsome woodpecker friend drinking from the fountain.