The Potter’s Clay 

I was but a lump of shapeless clay,
Until I was touched by the Potter one day.
With His hands, He started molding me
Into what He would have me to be.

I did not resist His gentle touch,
Though I thought I’d not amount to much.
He smoothed rough edges, getting rid of self.
I really didn’t want to sit on a shelf.

He fashioned me after His own image.
I remained pliable to avoid any damage.
Thank you, God, for not giving up on me.
I pray I’ll be all you want me to be.

God is the Potter and I am the clay.
He molded me into what I am today.
I feel now I’m a vessel fit for His use;
A vessel of honor to share His truths.

~ Written by:  Deborah Smith Plemmons ~

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Birthday blessings

Instead of counting candles,
or tallying the years,
contemplate your blessings now
as your birthday nears.

Consider special people
who love you, and who care;
and others who’ve enriched your life
just by being there.

Think about the memories
passing years can never mar;
experiences great and small
that have made you who you are.

Another year is a happy gift,
so cut your cake, and say,
“Instead of counting birthdays,
I count blessings every day!”

~ Written by:  Joanna Fuchs ~

‘Twas the night before Jesus came

Based on the poem by Clement Clark Moore, “‘Twas the night before Christmas“.

‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Scriptures were lain on the shelf without care –
not a thought that Jesus would ever come there!

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing their head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
was watching the Late Show while I took a nap

when out of the East there arose such a clatter;
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
but angels proclaiming that Jesus was here!
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment that this was “THE DAY”!

The light of His face made me cover my head.
It was Jesus! returning, just like He said.  (Acts 1:11)
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him, in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name.
When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame…

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready, He arose without sound
while all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was then way too late –
I had waited too long and thus sealed my own fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight…
oh, if only I had been ready tonight!

In the whole of this poem the meaning is clear:
the coming of Jesus is drawing ever so near.
We must begin RIGHT NOW to study and pray
so that we will be ready on that glorious day!

~ Author unknown ~

Time Travelers image - Joyful 'Toons

We are all traveling through time. And we can be sure that somewhere on the road ahead is the return of Jesus.  December 30, 2007

Romans 13
11  “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:  for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand:  let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

Luke 21
36  “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” ~ Jesus

Remember Who you belong to!

When you feel like you can’t handle the task and you ask yourself:  “Who’s your Daddy?” You can feel secure – not because of you, but because of Who you belong to.  Remember Who He is, and that you belong to Him:

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End.  (Revelation 22:13)  He’s the keeper of creation and the Creator of all.  (Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, 2 Peter 3:7)  He’s the architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.  (Psalms 8:3, 147:4)  He always was, always is, always will be (Hebrews 13:8) – unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone.  He was bruised, but brought healing.  He was pierced, but eases pain.  He was persecuted, but brought freedom.  He was dead and brings life.  He has risen to bring power and He reigns to bring peace.  (Isaiah 53:3-5, 61:1-3)

The world can’t understand Him.  Armies can’t defeat Him.  Schools can’t explain Him.  And leaders… they can’t ignore Him.  Herod couldn’t kill Him;  Nero couldn’t crush Him;  the New Age cannot replace Him, and Oprah cannot explain Him away.

Remind yourself that He is Light; (John 8:12) He is Love; (1 John 4:8) He is longevity and He is the LORD!  (Philippians 2:11)  He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness, and He is God!  (Exodus 34:6) He is holy and righteous, powerful and pure.  (Psalm 145:17, 29:4)  His ways are right, His Word eternal, His Will unchanging, and His Mind is on us!  (Deuteronomy 32:4, John 6:68, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 115:12)  He’s our Saviour, our Guide, our Peace, our Joy, our Comfort, our LORD, and He rules our lives.  (Matthew 18:11, Luke 2:11, Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 9:6, John 15:11, John 14:16, Psalm 103:19)

I serve Him because His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life.  (Colossians 3:14, Matthew 11:30, John 10:10)  I follow Him because He’s the Wisdom of the wise, the Power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders!  (Proverbs 8:12-35, Revelation 7:12, Daniel 7:9, 7:22, John 19:11, Romans 13:1)

His goal is a relationship with me…  (John 3:16, Revelation 3:20, John 15:14)

He’ll never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment Book.  Never!  (Hebrews 13:5, Isaiah 49:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:6)

When you fall, He’ll lift you up.  When you fail, He’ll forgive you.  When you’re weak, He’s strong.  When you’re lost, He’s your way.  When you’re afraid, He’s your courage.  When you stumble, He will steady you.  When you’re hurt, He’s gonna heal you.  When you’re broken, He will mend you.  When you’re blind, He will lead you.  When you’re hungry, He will feed you.  When you face trials, He is with you!  (Psalm 147:6, Psalm 103:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, John 14:6, Joshua 1:9, Proverbs 3:23, Malachi 4:2, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 23:3, Isaiah 42:16, John 6:51, John 4:10, Matthew 28:20)

When I face persecution, He shields me.  When I face problems, He will comfort me.  When I face loss, He will provide for me.  And when we face death, He will carry us all Home to meet Him!  (Psalm 33:20, Psalm 23:4, Philippians 4:19, Isaiah 40:11, 46:4)

He is everything, for everybody, everywhere, every time, and in every way!  (Ephesians 1:21-23)

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to!

~Taken from sermon by Priscilla Shirer ~

The Story

This is a story:
A story about a Hero and a damsel,
a villain and a scandal…
So bend down, untie your sandals,
’cause where we’re going is holy ground.  (Exodus 3:5)

Starts like this:

In the beginning there was the Hero.  (Genesis 1:1)
And the Hero was the Father.
And the Hero was the Spirit.
And the Hero was the Son.
And if this hurts your head already, welcome to the kingdom.
Immutable, inscrutable, infinitely glad-hearted Triune Perfection;
His ancient love reverberated off each Member with no hint of dissension.
Perfect in unity,
Perfect in diversity,
Holy trinity.

And even before the rocks could cry out His Name, He was singing His own praises –
How could He not?
You know anyone else who goes by “The Rock of Ages”?
He needed nothing from no one,
as if something made could improve upon His majesty.
His majesty’s amp was already at 11.
And if this was the end of our story,
that’d be enough for us to glory for a thousand eternities at Him.

But our story isn’t over because one day the Hero started speaking.
And when He started speaking, things started being:  (Genesis 1 & 2)
Light, night, wind, water, mud, moons, seas and spiders,
swimmers and flyers, gallopers and gliders,
Stars and seasons, rhyme and reason to all of it, and all of it was good.
And suddenly all the commotion came to a standstill,
when our Hero bent down and fashioned His damsel.
God leaned over our body of earth,
breathed life into our lungs, made our heart beat from dirt.
He put light into our eyes
He gave us each other and He gave us Himself as a prize.  (Philippians 3:14)
And we were naked and were not ashamed.

But of course, the plot thickens…
Enter stage right The Villain.

The serpent was craftier than any beast in the garden.  (Genesis 3)
He made a beeline for the tree line and found Eve and her husband,
and in less than fifty words he convinced perfectly satisfied people
they were starving to death.
And since that day God’s damsel has known nothing but starving to death;
The poison of asps is heavy on her breath.
We traded the glory of the incorruptible God for a silly substitute
like a school kid duped into giving up his brand new Jordan’s for a pair of worn out tennis shoes.
We became dark-hearted.
Bent inward on a mission to find within ourselves the solution,
like trying to number the stars while gazing through L.A.’s air pollution.
We couldn’t see and we fell in love with lesser things;
and we bought them each a diamond ring,
and we betrayed our Maker, our Husband, our King.

Let me clarify:

‘Cause this doesn’t just apply to the treacherous and murderous –
even the best of us are as bad as the worst of us:  (Romans 3:23)
Outwardly clean, but inside full of dead men’s bones.  (Matthew 23:27)
Like the Taj Mahal, it looks good and all but there’s nobody home.
And one terrible day, we looked around,
but there was no more villain to be found:
he’d crawled inside of us!
Like a virus, rewired us
and now the damsel is the villain as well!
We tied our own self to the train tracks, the horn blows
and careening toward us
is 10’000 tons of God’s wrath;
sounds so loud, you can barely hear the screaming chorus,
“Who will save us from the body of this death?!”  (Romans 7:24)

Enter stage left, Jesus of Nazareth

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  (John 1:14)
He came lowly.
Perfectly holy.
He came like a groom on His way to the altar to meet the bride
and for the dowry, He had no cash so He paid with his life.  (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Are you shocked by the consequence of sin?
Be more shocked at the mercy of Him!
Couldn’t free ourselves, so Christ became our freedom;  (Galatians 5:1)
Couldn’t fill these lungs, so He became our breathing.
We live because He died.  (2 Timothy 1:10)
Once a harlot now a bride.
Sins were scarlet, now made white.  (Isaiah 1:18)
Perfect by proxy,
Saved by a surrogate,
Holy through Him – (Romans 5:9)
the Hero and the damsel are one once again.  (Revelation 19:7)

But wait:

I haven’t told you the best part yet.
See, as if there wasn’t enough Hero already to impress you,
the best part about this story, is this story is true.
The only fairytale that’s not a fairytale:
So long, Mother Goose!
Farewell, Dr. Seuss!

This here’s the genuine article:

God made.
We strayed.
God’s love displayed 
God-Man gives grace,
stands in our place:
Our sins erased,
debt paid always.
So fall on your face,
and give God all praise.

~ Written and performed by:  Jimmy Needham ~

Nail it to the Cross

Each worry, stress or sorrow,
each need you’re thinking of…
Nail it to the Cross
and entrust it to Christ’s love.

A trial or temptation,
a challenge hard to face…
Nail it to the Cross,
and give it to His grace.

For Christ redeemed all suffering,
all struggle, loss, and death…
He “nailed” the world’s salvation
as He took His final Breath.

~ Author unknown ~

Feathered Choir

One cannot really say it is a good and well-trained choir;
to sing the loudest is the aim to which they all aspire…
They disregard harmonic laws – sometimes they’re not in tune –
and yet they give a grand performance every afternoon.

The twitter of the sparrow and the robin’s chirpy note –
the harsh metallic squawking from the starling’s shining throat;
and from the elms the noisy rooks demand to have a part
(it’s certain they will never master singing as an art).

They all strike up a different theme;  they sing just what they please…
They trill and pipe and whistle from their choir-stalls in the trees…
And here’s a lesson to be learnt – it’s just occurred to me –
If birds can sing in winter-time – well then, why shouldn’t we?

~ Patience Strong, The quiet hour ~

Psalm 34
A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.  I will bless the LORD at all times:  His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  3  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His Name together.

Psalm 100
A Psalm of praise.  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.  2  Serve the LORD with gladness:  come before His presence with singing.  3  Know ye that the LORD he is God:  it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves;  we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.  4  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise:  be thankful unto Him, and bless His Name.  5  For the LORD is good;  His mercy is everlasting;  and His truth endureth to all generations.

Don’t Quit

Romans 5:3-6 
“… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Don’t quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
and the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh.

When things are pressing you down a bit,
rest if you must, but don’t you quit!
Life is strange with its twists and turns,
as every one of us sometimes learns.

And many a failure turns about,
when he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
you might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
it seems, to a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
when he might have captured the victor’s cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

You never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
it’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

~ Author unknown ~

1 Corinthians 10:13 
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Mark 13:13
“And ye shall be hated of all men for My Name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

You are what you are for a reason

You are who you are for a reason.
You’re part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb.
You’re just what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you’d grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

~ Written by:  Russell Kelfer ~

Psalm 139:13-16
“For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

Genesis 1:27, 31
“So God created man in His Own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. …  And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

1 Peter 2:9
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light…”

Being called a “Christian”

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost sometimes,
That’s why I chose this Way.”  (John 14:6, Luke 19:10)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I don’t speak with human pride;
I’m confessing that I stumble –
needing God to be my guide.  (Luke 1:78-79, Proverbs 4:11-12)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak,
and pray for strength to carry on.  (Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not bragging of success –
I’m admitting that I’ve failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.  (Isaiah 64:6-8, Isaiah 53:3-7, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Romans 6:23)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I don’t think I know it all.
I submit to my confusion
asking humbly to be taught.  (Luke 10:38-42, Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 2:1-11)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not claiming to be perfect:
My flaws are far too visible,
but God believes I’m worth it.  (Psalm 14:2-3, John 3:16)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I still feel the sting of pain;
I have my share of heartache,
which is why I seek God’s Name.  (Psalm 73:25-26, Psalm 105:3)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority,
I only know I’m loved.  (John 3:16, 1 John 3:1)

~ Carol Wimmer (1988) ~

Additional verses (author unknown):

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I am not shouting that “I am clean living”…
I’m whispering, “I was lost,
but now I’m found and forgiven.”  (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not “holier than thou” –
I’m just a simple sinner
who received God’s good grace, somehow!  (Ephesians 2:7-8)