Earthen Vessels

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But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7


The following post was written by Eugene May, August 12, 2014:

Reading the Word of God leads me into places that amaze me and cause me to rejoice in the wisdom of God. His wisdom is far more potent than anything man could say. An example of this is found in the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the POWER may be of God and not of us.”

Who among us would have thought to put the “POWER OF GOD” in earthen or human vessels and say, “Now do the work of God?” It is not logical to place the greatest power of the universe in human flesh. I know, looking at myself, that I have areas in my life that are weak. But God, in His infinite wisdom, placed His power in me and said, “Do my work.”

This power that I am writing about is not “MY POWER.” No, it is the “POWER OF GOD,” the “POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.” We must realize that there is nothing inferior about that “POWER.” But, when people look at the weakness of man, you and me, and see the “POWER OF GOD” being manifested, they will have to give God the “GLORY.”

Child of God, in your “NATURAL” state of being, you can’t do the work of God. It is impossible. But, you are not just living in the “NATURAL,” you are living in the “SPIRITUAL.” Living in the “SPIRITUAL” means that there are no limits to what God can do through you. Therefore, live in the “SPIRIT” and God will receive the “GLORY.”

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” John 14:12


Shared with the permission of Eugene May. He is a trusted, tireless, and gifted international minister, with an informative website (http://eugenemay.org/). Additionally, May posts daily biblical teachings on Face Book (in Spanish, French, and English). (https://www.facebook.com/eltonemay)

 

 

 

You, the Readers

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I don’t know how you, the readers, find me. I’m a terrible example of how to promote a blog site. The first half of its six month existence, I didn’t even have my domain name. That should have been certain online invisibility.

Beyond that, I confess to great discomfort with marketing. I tried the recommended promotion strategies for all of a minute, and found them excruciating. They’re so at odds with my nature, it felt like selling my soul. I gave up and simply don’t do them. So you see, this site’s prognosis should have been terminal obscurity.

Nevertheless, somehow you landed here. And you’re not alone. To date, you are among readers representing 41 countries, from every continent except Antarctica. The newest viewers are from Pakistan, who popped in today and checked out several recent posts.

I was with a group of writers yesterday, and was asked how often I post a new blog. My answer: “It depends on the readers. Like when I see ‘Brazil’ stopped by, and I haven’t posted anything since the last person from Brazil was on. Then I dive in and write for them, because “Brazil” should have something new!”

Truly, you, the readers, keep me motivated. I may never learn who you are, since only your country location is revealed to me, but who knows … maybe someday we will meet. In the meantime, be assured that you are appreciated and always welcome here.

Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

 

Spread the Love, End the Stigma

cindigale:

In light of the death of the beloved Robin Williams less than twenty-four hours ago, and an upcoming event to honor the late Adam Smith, an admired friend of my sons, I am reposting this blog. It was written by Nicky Gant. Beyond the valuable facts she compiled, are tools for helping those who suffer from mental illness. Above all, Nicky’s article leaves us with hope.

Originally posted on Cindi Gale:

Nicky Gant is a fellow writer, blogger, and friend. She recently published this article on mental health awareness and suicide prevention for the QC Mom’s Blog. Thank you, Nicky, for allowing me to share this thorough, helpful, and compassionate resource.

http://www.quadcitymomsblog.com/2014/05/14/bubbles-of-hope/


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Like many moms of small children, I tend to live in a bubble. I’m usually running between little league, the YMCA and preschool – everywhere I look, I see happy little people with promising futures.

But the truth is, my bubble burst a long time ago.

If it hadn’t, perhaps my heart wouldn’t have hurt quite so bad when I learned about the string of local teen suicides, which experts have described as an epidemic in Scott County. Perhaps it would have seemed like a distant problem, something that can only happen to other families.

Though thankfully, my loved one who attempted suicide as a teenager survived, he resisted treatment for his mental illness and went on to live out the devastating…

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Dream Big

Dreaming Big postorized pic for blog

As I walked at a track today, a coach worked at one end of the adjacent field. His young son played on the other end. The boy sprinted, head down, football ball tucked at his belly. Zig-zagging left and right, he reached the end zone, did a little leap, and raised the ball overhead.

“What’s the score?” I called out.

“Fourteen to nothing!”

“Who you playing?”

“The Cardinals! Game’s over. I won,” he answered.

“And you are … ?”

“Packers!”

His invisible coach told him to take a rest (those were his exact words), so I was the fortunate recipient of some football information: He didn’t play on a team yet. Flag football starts in third grade, pads in sixth. He wants to try all the positions, but when he plays his first game in sixth grade he wants to be the quarterback.

That’s five years away, for a kid who hasn’t lived much longer than that.

“Are you going to play another game now?”

“Yep. Packers against the Cardinals.”

Again. I incorrectly guessed that those were his favorite pro teams.

“No, Packers was what my dad’s team was when he was in sixth grade.”

“Ah. What’s the score going to be? Forty-nine to nothing?”

“No. A hundred to nothing.”

“I like it!”

I went back to walking and the little guy went back to clobbering the Cardinals. I watched him facing the goalpost, turning every Packer possession into a touchdown. After a brief celebration, he changed field direction and morphed into a Cardinal. He never made it more than ten to twenty yards before an invisible Packer leveled him. Sometimes the poor Cardinal laid there awhile, curled on his side in the grass.

When I finished my last lap and passed near enough to be heard, I asked, “What’s the score now?”

“Twenty-one to nothing!”

“Are you going to play all the way to a hundred?”

“Yeah!”

From my bike, I looked back before the field was out of sight and sure enough, Packerman was scoring again.

I marveled at his vision to win (by no small margin) at a game he knew he couldn’t play for many years. He had a great imagination. And big dreams. And patience. There was something so right about it.

football high school stadiumThere was an epic game playing out in his mind. From scoreless to the outcome he envisioned, he made that epic game happen on the field. One play at a time.

Packerman doesn’t know yet that life may make him modify his dreams. Reality may force him to expect differently. Right now, the world is his oyster. It’s the opportunity in which to live out his big dreams. As it should be. And as I hope it remains for him. And for you.

As for me, I don’t think it’s possible on my own. But I do think it’s possible with God. Our dreams are not always easily or quickly achieved — God seems to spend a lot of time coaching us to improve our skills, strength, knowledge, tenacity, character, patience, confidence, and more. But the fulfillment of the dreams he puts in our hearts and minds is possible in time. If it’s from him, it’s doable. I need to commit to keeping the vision as big as when he gave it; to being coached; to follow and not lead; to apply myself to that big vision; to not settle or allow insecurities and fears to compromise it.

Packerman reminded me it’s simpler than it sounds. It boils down to what children know: When you get the dream, don’t shrink it. Let it do big things in your imagination. Then walk it out. Participate wholeheartedly in your epic game of life.

One play at a time.

Phillipians 2:13 (NIV) – For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

 

 

She Loves Him

My favorite part of  The Chronicles of Narnia series is the love between Lucy and Aslan.

He is the depiction of Jesus. And of God. He is massive. Powerful. Immutable. His ferocity is frightening to others.

Aslan roaring, cropped for blog

But not to Lucy.

She loves him. She buries her face in the beautiful silkiness of his mane, riding high over the mountains of Narnia. Death is certain should she fall, but she is undaunted. Settled on his broad shoulders, her fists clutch that golden mane. Because it is Aslan that carries her, Lucy is carefree.

Aslan, riding Aslan, for blog

His frame is strong. Unwavering. Secure. Unassailable. He never falters. Never misleads her. Never abandons her. He never lowers her to earth anywhere short of stable, sheltered ground.

Aslan and Lucy face to face

He is insulating. He speaks to her softly, words rich in wisdom. All at once, his heart a blend of tenderness, intensity, and protectiveness. In there also, his own pain.

And so she loves him.


An excerpt of their reunion, from “Prince Caspian”: The Return to Narnia …

And then—oh joy! For he was there: the huge Lion, shining white in the moonlight, with his huge black shadow underneath him.

But for the movement of his tail he might have been a stone lion, but Lucy never thought of that. She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she knew was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her face in the beautiful rich silkiness of his mane.

Aslan and Lucy reunion cropped

“Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”

The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.

“Welcome, child,” he said.

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia The Chronicles of Narnia (1951, this edition Harper Collins, 1994) 141.

Under Renovation

I enjoy the “before” and “after” photos of home renovations, like these pictures of the Kuppersmith Project from “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford”.

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While Lipford renovates homes, God renovates lives. It’s exciting stuff, having the project manager of all project managers in charge of our renovations. He has great vision. There’s nothing too deteriorated, neglected, vandalized, rotted, overgrown, or overwhelming for him to take on. He’ll transform, overhaul, overthrow, release, clean, guide, counsel … you name a problem and he has a solution. In time, our “after” photos show a remarkable transformation.

But keep in mind that any pictures snapped in the middle of renovation may not appear representative of the vision. Restoration can involve some serious demolition and removal. Outdated wiring, lead paint, and asbestos have to go. Rotted windows and damaged drywall have to go. It sometimes looks worse before it looks better.

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Cut yourself some slack if you’re in the middle of renovation. Relax your expectations of others too. Don’t judge a person’s status by his temporary mess, or his newly stripped-down, skeletal life. He may be the most yielded, willing, “I’m all in” person God has partnered with in a long while. His renovation may be the most exciting project God has directed for ages. Only God and he know his heart, just as only God and you know your own.

Hang in there with the project manager of all project managers. If you are willing, he has a great vision, a detailed blueprint, and a skilled crew at work restoring your life. You can be certain that you will be deeply satisfied with your “after” pictures.

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