Friday, February 03, 2006

Jars of Clay

Results from this Tuesday:

Our winner was #3, breakfast casserole (eggs, bacon, ham, & cheese). Second place goes to Eggs, sunny-side up, with bacon and toast. Looks like you are all pretty hearty breakfast eaters, considering 75% of my list was made up of sweets!

This morning I was reading in 2 Corinthians 4. Below is the whole chapter; if you don't want to read it all, scroll down to below it where there is a re-cap.

2 Corinthians 4

Treasures in Jars of Clay

1Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.

2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,

14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.

15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

That's a lot of Scripture... I looked at it to try to cut it down, but it is all so good I couldn't do it.

This is really encouraging, because it lays out a picture of what we are up against today. Those of us who are Christians and have taken advantage of Jesus' shed blood know what it is like to have God's mercy and grace upon us so that we may experience the Light of the World- something others are blind to.

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

Yet it is not our responsibility for us of ourselves to teach others, because we couldn't do it. We must let Christ work through us to reach others, for that is the only way they can be reached.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."

At ISU Bible Study last night, we learned about "struggle." We will struggle, but we are encouraged to take heart! Since when do we become concerned about ourselves in this life? If we are, no wonder we struggle... it is the Lord Christ we serve, and not ourselves. We need to make sure our "struggle" isn't just a "pity party." Yet even if it is, we know Who will understand where we are and what we need to do to have a change of heart. Everyone experiences struggles in their life, so let's make sure our struggling is getting us somewhere. What I mean by that is this: Let it result in a growth, a change, and a purpose. The only way that will happen is if we keep our eyes on His kingdom, and not our own.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."

Most of us don't know what persecution is, but even if we did, the Word tells me that we have a hope living inside of us that overcomes that!

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body."

Life is so short; last night, I had an epiphony that really kind of scared me. The speaker said we are on this earth for maybe 7 or 8 decades. I thought to myself, "Well, I've been here for 2 decades now." When I think that I only have 6 more to go and these past 2 have flown by, my life suddenly seems very short. That's besides the point, because I could die tomorrow, but with time comes aging. After awhile, our bodies start to show signs of this; wrinkles, gray hair, poor eyesight, loss of memory. But look at what the Word says:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

Something I have heard a lot lately is the importance of staying in the Word in a way that helps us to build upon what we already have established as a foundation, and not just as a "re-fuel." We shouldn't treat the Word of God like a gas station, going to it when we need to charge back up again. When I first heard that, Ii was like, "Why not?" Well, it's because we should be building upon what is already there. It should moreso be likened to building a house- there should be a definite foundation with a representation of progress, not just a full-to-empty sort of picture.

Some days, we really will feel like we are on "Empty" for whatever reason. Like I said before, we all struggle. We all have trials in our lives. A great way to keep "problems" in perspective is to get out a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. If the sheet of paper is your life, how big is the problem you are experiencing? If you represent it with a dot, it's most likely just a small little dot on the page. Even if took up half the page, nothing is too small for the Lord to handle. In this life, the only struggles worth having are the ones that further His kingdom (yet I know that through them all, we grow):

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Forgive the length... it has been awhile since I've posted spiritual including Scripture, so it was long overdue. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

I love you all! T

3 comments:

Priscilla said...

Very thankful that he uses cracked pots!

JakeGman said...

Wow! once Again great post!

I too thought of my life being so short, when he talked about only having 6 decades left to live! Kind of puts it all in perspective! Thanks for the bit on building off the Word and not just using it to "Refuel". Good Stuff.

Keep on Shinin' for Him.

God Bless <><

thedoorsopen said...

Thanks for some great points to apply. Amen to the building not refueling message, and all in all great scripture! You have a great weekend too, Gridley's got an invite, and there's guys here already (a couple came last night). Looking forward to a blessed weekend.