Be Willing To Let God Mold You

as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…” (Jeremiah 18:6)

Dr. Henry Poppen, one of China’s first missionaries, spent forty years telling its people about the love of Jesus and how He died to take away their sins. One day, after he had finished speaking, a man approached him and said, “We know this Jesus! He has been here.”

Dr. Poppen explained how that wasn’t possible because Jesus had lived and died long ago in a country far from China. “Oh no”, the man insisted. “He died here. I can even show you His grave.” He led Dr. Poppen outside the city to a cemetery where an American was buried. There, inscribed on a crumbling gravestone was the name of a medical doctor who felt called by God to live and die among the people of this remote Chinese village. And when its people heard Dr. Poppen describe the attributes of Jesus – His mercy, love, kindness, His willingness to forgive – they remembered the missionary doctor.

God will use you when you are willing to become ‘clay in the potter’s hand.’ Clay has no aspiration; it’s moldable, pliable and completely subject to the potter’s will. Henry Blackaby says, “When God’s assignment demands humility, He finds a servant willing to be humbled. When it requires zeal, He looks for someone He can fill with His Spirit. God uses holy vessels, so He finds those who will allow Him to remove their impurities.

It’s not a noble task being clay. There’s no glamour to it, nothing boast-worthy, except it’s exactly what God’s looking for.”

...building the body of Christ.

Romance That Never Runs Out

William Jennings Bryan, the great American orator and defender of the faith, was at one point in his midlife having his portrait painted. The artist, in helping to make Bryan “picture-perfect” inquired of him, “Sir, why do you wear your hair over your ears like that?” William Jennings Bryan replied, “Actually, there is a romance connected with it. When I first pursued Mrs. Bryan, she declined my every invitation.

“Later a close confidant of hers whispered to me that it was not that she did not like me but that there was something about the way my ears stick out that turned her off. I decided then and there to remedy the situation. So as to remove the obstacle of our relationship, I grew my hair long enough to cover my offending parts.”

“That was a long time ago and fashions have changed, sir”, the artist responded. “Would you consider cutting your hair now?” “Absolutely not,” said the statesman-orator, “I am still pursuing my romance with Mrs. Bryan.”

True romance never runs out. An advertisement in the Personal section of a local newspaper was headlined “Husband for Sale.” The text below read, “Age 52, in good health. Out or sorts most of the time. No longer verbalizes ‘I love you’. Is only rarely touching and tender. Asking price is 2 cents. Note: Price negotiable!”

According to the wife who placed that message in the newspaper, her husband is not worth even two cents. We chuckle at such advertisement; then we hope for all the world that it really is just a joke. William Jennings Bryan was aware that when romance leaves a marriage, holy wedlock becomes holy deadlock. Something bad has happened to that relationship.

The same is true with our relationship with our Maker. It can deteriorate to the place where it is virtually worthless. We need constant reminders that fashions come and go, times and circumstances change, but our romance with God through Christ must not be allowed to fluctuate. We were made for intimacy with Him, and it is always in our best interests to deal with any part of our lives that offends Him.

In the sacrifice of His Son, God made it possible for us to cover our offending parts. No relationship on earth will ever substitute for this relationship He makes possible. None will ever take its place. Indeed, no relationship on earth will ever be truly right without our intimate connection with God first being in place.

How can I say this with such certainty? First, because the Bible says it is so. Our relationship with God is at the same time the foundation and the model for our relationship with one another. Second, I can testify to this point because of a wonderful personal experience. Barbara (Robert Leslie Holmes’ wife) and I were not committed to Christ when we married. Baptized as children, we were brought up in church but we somehow missed understanding the reality of God’s redeeming grace through Christ. We were married, in the church and had a good and loving relationship from the beginning.

When we married, we were committed to each other for life. We were still not Christians, however. It was sometime after our second wedding anniversary that we each, at separate times, came to faith in Christ. When Christ entered our lives individually and when He entered our lives together, we found a level of closeness and love for one another that we had no idea existed before. This romance of ours, after over thirty-three years of marriage, is stronger than ever, and we agree that it is because God is at the centre of it.

That is not to say that making a commitment with Christ is a Pollyanna recipe for a good marriage nor that all marital problems somehow float away just because a couple commit their way to Christ. It does mean that when Christ is at the centre of a marriage, the issues and concerns that are a normal part of married life are seen from a different perspective.

When Christ is at the centre there is a renewed sense of commitment to working through difficulties in a way that is positive and constructive for both the husband and the wife. The family that prays together really does stay together. The Christian principles that make for better marriages are true for other relationships as well.

*** Written By Robert Leslie Holmes ***

...building the body of Christ.

Here And Hereafter

Life often has been described as a journey, and it’s indeed an endless journey that begins here on earth and continues forever. That means everyone born into this world has an immortal soul – a soul not capable of dying, living forever.

Although death is the termination of life here on earth, the human life actually goes beyond the mortal existence; it continues hereafter and exists forever. In other words, we will all outlive the planet. We will spend eternity in one of two places though – heaven or hell. The question is, where will you spend eternity?

Have you ever pondered on that? You need to accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, if you want to have a blissful eternity in heaven; otherwise, you will end up in hell.

As a Christian parent, you also need to give a deep thought to where your children will spend eternity. You have probably listened to many sermons on eternity, but have you taken deliberate steps to prepare your children for eternity in heaven? Or are you caught up in the rat race here and neglecting your sacred responsibility of getting your children ready for the hereafter?

You need to awake to the reality of life after death. Heaven and hell are no myths. The Bible tells us that heaven is the abode of God, and only righteous and holy people will dwell there with Him forever. It is a place of rest from all earthly toils, but sinners and backsliders won’t get there (John 14:1-4; Revelation 21:1-27). Living there with the Almighty God for all eternity is a sheer bliss!

Hell, on the other hand, is a place of everlasting punishment where sinners – those who don’t have their names in the Book of Life – will suffer torment forever. It was prepared originally for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), but God has decreed that those who forget Him and reject Christ will also be cast there because of their sins and neglect of His salvation (Psalm 9:17; Luke 12:4,5; 16:19-31; Revelation 14:10,11; 20:12-15).

And don’t be na├»ve about God’s judgment. Contrary to some erroneous beliefs, only born-again and sanctified Christians will spend eternity in heaven, not religious or “good”, “moral” people. Also, there is a great gulf fixed between heaven and hell, so that no person can cross from hell to heaven and vice versa.

There is nothing like purgatory in God’s Word (Luke 16:19-26). Besides, not only adults will face judgment. All those who sin against God: young children, youths, adults, “small and great (will) stand before God” in judgment and forever be punished for their sins in the Lake of Fire (Ecclesiastes 11:9; Revelation 20:12-15).

So be wise! Prepare yourself and your children for a blissful life in heaven, by being born-again yourself, leading the children to salvation in Christ and raising them in the way of the Lord. Guide them to live by the Word of God. Train your adolescents to manage peer pressure and lead a life of holiness, obedience, responsibility and service to God.

Make them live with eternity in view through your exhortations and godly examples. When, through your instructions and exemplary lifestyle, you groom your children properly and make them ready for hereafter, they will grow up to become responsible adults, and lead godly lives (Proverbs 22:6). And whether they die young – God forbids they die prematurely – or in a ripe old age, they will live in heaven with you forever.

...building the body of Christ.

Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

...building the body of Christ.