THE POTTER: REFLECTIONS OF A MASTER ARTISAN – Day of Discovery

Words of Life

This is a wonderful video…

potter-reflections-master-artisan-various-dvd-cover-art

From his studio nestled along the Arkansas River in Colorado, potter Dave Blakeslee says, “One of the things I love about God is that He is a creative God.” Watch and listen as he shapes, glazes, and fires ceramic works of art and describes how the Master Potter forms and transforms lives. Discover how God can mold you into a beautiful vessel uniquely designed for His glory in the Day of Discovery video presentation “The Potter.”

You can watch it at this link…

THE POTTER: REFLECTIONS OF A MASTER ARTISAN – Day of Discovery.

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31 Days ~ How Long?

Day 31 ~ How Long? 
This  is the last day of the 31 Days of blogging with all the incredible bloggers out there. I’m going to leave you readers some links to older posts that have been really helpful to me and hopefully will encourage you. A special thanks to James Banks who wrote the wonderful book of prayers, “Prayers for Prodigals” that I have been reading through day by day, and that has inspired so much of this writing…
How long, O Lord, how long?” Psalms 6:3Some of you are just starting out on this journey. I think that is the hardest of all. When it all comes crashing down on you and the pain is excruciating and the nightmare you never dreamed would happen to you is now your life…It’s as if someone has died and you will experience the same stages of grief. I found this very helpful during that time…
As time goes by in our loneliness we hear of others who have perhaps suffered a greater loss than our own and we realize that in order to heal we need to reach out and help others…
After a while we think, “I don’t want this to last for years and years…how can I bear this…how long, Father, how long?”We may even be tempted to take the battle into our own hands…The Temptation to Take the Battle into Our Own Hands

How long, O Lord, how long? Is a phrase we will utter many times no matter how long it takes, but in the meantime God is not only working in our prodigal but also in us…

“Only God knows the end of the story for our prodigal. Every once in awhile we get a glimmer of hope that our son will fully return to God. Many times I’ve wished I could just read the final chapter; then perhaps I’d sleep better at night. But we are learning to walk by faith, one day at a time. God is sovereign, and we have learned much about His grace, His patience, and His love that we probably would not have learned otherwise.”

Praying today that we might comfort one another no matter where we are in this journey. We as parents are learning to TRUST and have FAITH in a way that transcends human understanding. Reach out and encourage someone today with the comfort you have received from the Lord. It is His way of bringing us closer to Him and giving us healing and peace.
Praying for our prodigals that no matter where they are in their journey that they will see Jesus. Father, take the blinders off their eyes that they might see You today. And we thank you and praise you for the work You alone can do in their lives.

31 Days ~ Strength to Go On

Day 30 ~ Strength to Go On

Sharing again from James Banks Prayers for Prodigals

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3: 17-18
“I will remind myself of this, Lord. It’s always good to praise you, regardless of how I feel at the moment.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise” (I Chronicles 16:25)
I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God” (Habakkuk 3:18), regardless of my external circumstances on any given day. And why not?
Yes, times are difficult with my child. She’s running from me and from you.
My heart aches. I long to take her in my arms and protect her from harm, if only she would have it.
Then I am reminded of your Word and your promise:
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion” (Isaiah 30:18).
There’s a lot of meaning in that one word, yet. You know how I feel, don’t you?
Not only about my daughter. About the whole human race.
That’s why you came, why you sent your one and only son: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
Not only do you understand, you’ve faced our rebellion with a heart that feels with more “depth” than I could ever know. (Romans 11:33)
I praise you for that and will wait for you, because “since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4). ~ James Banks

31 Days ~ Quiet you with His Love

Day 28 ~ Quiet you with His Love

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

He will quiet you with His love
…I don’t think I have ever read this before…He will quiet you with His love…I think it’s because my version says it differently…”The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest (be quiet) in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” KJV

What a beautiful thought…He will quiet you with His love

 
 
 
 
Remember the story about Elijah…how he ran in fear of his life from Jezebel and then he eventually hides in a cave and there is a great wind, but God is not in the wind…and earthquake, but God is not in the earthquake…a fire, but God is not in the fire… and then a still small voice …Then Elijah heard…in the stillness…in the quiet…
 
From Prayers for Prodigals ~

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”What beautiful thoughts, Lord.You are all of those things!You are “with me.”You are “mighty to save.”The thought of you taking delight in me and comforting me with our love gives my soul hope that this world cannot take away.When I imagine you rejoicing over me with singing, I’m reminded that you are my Father, and I am your child (1 John 5:19)”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)…In the “quietness and confidence” that comes from you alone (Isaiah 32:17), I will wait and watch and pray.” ~ James Banks

Praying that you will hear the Father’s voice in quiet and stillness…that He will quiet you with His love…that he will give you grace and peace to wait on Him.

And praying that our prodigals, no matter where their journey takes them…whether it be through blinding storms or shaking earthquakes, or raging fires… will come to know the stillness of God and His all-encompassing love for them.

 
Elijah in the Wilderness ~ Washington Allston
 

31 Days ~ Waiting for an Answer

Day 22 ~ Waiting for an Answer

I’m going to share a story that James Banks writes about in his book about another prodigal. The lesson here again has to do with waiting on the Lord.
“When our daughter was 15 she ran away.
Katie had fallen in with the wrong crowd at school. When we grounded her and pulled her out of school to finish the final weeks of her sophomore year at home, she made other plans. One day she ran out the door and down the street, where a friend picked her up in a car.
She was gone more than three weeks.
Those were the longest three weeks of our lives. Carl and I looked everywhere for out daughter and sought help from law enforcement and friends. But no matter how hard we tried, it seemed like we were always a few steps behind her.
Her life was in danger and she didn’t even know it. One day, Carl and I found ourselves sitting in the apartment of an armed drug dealer who knew some of Katie’s friends and had seen her recently. Later, we discovered she was even a passenger in a wreck where the car rolled and others were injured. She left the scene when the police arrived.
In the desperate days that followed, Carl and I learned the importance of waiting on God in prayer for those we love. We had no other choice. We had come to the end of our strength and resources and had to rely on God. The more we prayed, the more effective our search became.
It was on Father’s Day that we found her. Carl and I were in a restaurant parking lot, on our way to dinner, when the phone rang. A waitress at another restaurant had spotted her. Katie was only three blocks away. We soon had her home, safe and sound.
God always answers prayer. The answer is either yes, no, or wait. When the answer is wait, it’s easy to confuse it with no answer at all…
Sometimes the answers don’t come when we would hope. Things may even seem to go from bad to worse. But we have to persevere, keep believing and keep asking…
Waiting is never easy, but the end result is worth it. David put it this way: “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalms 9:10)
Keep seeking! Keep trusting! Keep asking! Keep praying!
There is grace to be found in the waiting, even if it takes years for the answer to come.”
James Banks has written another book called ‘the Lost Art of Praying Together’ that this story was taken from.
Here is a link if anyone is interested…
I haven’t read it yet, but I sure think this book that I have been reading and sharing with you, ‘Prayer for Prodigals’ is excellent.
Praying for all of us today that we will become more proficient in this ‘lost art of praying and waiting’ on the Lord through our trial. Perhaps, Father, this is part of the reason we are travailing in this trial…perhaps it is Your way of getting our attention and causing us to fall on our knees and seek You with our whole heart.
I know each one of us as parents, Father, needs to grow in some area in our walk with You. Please, Father, teach us Your ways. And in the meantime bring our prodigals to their senses and back home to know You, to desire You with their whole hearts and walk in Your ways.

 

31 Days ~ Father, Forgive

Day 15 ~ Father Forgive

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:33-34
The Holy Spirit many times has brought to remembrance the words of our Savior...”Forgive them for they know not what they do“…
 
They really don’t know what they are doing…our prodigals really have lost their senses…they have lost their way…they don’t have ears to hear and eyes to see… and until they regain their “eyes to see”, they don’t realize the pain that they are causing. They justify their behaviors.
Quoting James Banks, “You died to set us free from the law of sin and death” Romans 8:2 and rose to give us life.
And while you were dying, You interceded with the Father for your murderers.
They really didn’t know what they were doing, did they?
If they had understood, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8)”
Praying today that the words of Jesus,Forgive them for they know not what they do…will transform your heart and mind and free you from pain, knowing that through your suffering you are partaking of the suffering of Christ and being conformed more to His likeness.
Praying for the forgiveness of our prodigals… Praying, also, that they will come to that place where they ask forgiveness for themselves.
Help us, Father, to have the patience to wait for Your deliverance, for Your timing.

31 Days ~ If I Should Die Before She Wakes

Day 14 ~ If I Should Die Before She Wakes

“Father I want so much to see my daughter come to you. But what if it takes longer than my lifetime? I will still live by faith and welcome the answers to my prayers “from a distance”.” ~ James Banks

This rings so true to me. I honestly got to the point that I believed my son WOULD turn back to God, but I didn’t think it would happen before I died. And I think that is something that we as parents need to accept. What is most important is their relationship with Jesus. How and when that is worked out is up to the Father. If we get to see it, that is an incredible blessing, and one that I pray you will all experience. But we have to put our children totally in God’s care and that includes the timing.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” Hebrews 11:13

If you haven’t totally surrendered your prodigal into God’s hands…I pray this prayer for you today.

Here are a couple of posts I wrote about surrender that I think will be helpful and encouraging…

I Know Your Pain

Peace That Passeth All Understanding

May God bless you with the peace that passes all understanding…as you surrender your life and your prodigal’s life totally into the hands of the Great Shepherd.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7

Speaking of Waiting…

How long? Oh, how long does the Good Shepherd take to answer our prayers and bring the lost sheep home?

Be assured He is watching and waiting for the perfect time…He knows our hearts, he knows our names…they are written in His hands…He knows the perfect time…

My daughter Sarah did a great post the other day on Waiting…here’s the link to her blog…

Deeper Still

Painting ~ Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep by Karin Naylor

Stay Grounded In the Gospel

This morning I read a post by Trevin Wax entitled Don’t Let Demas Steal Your Joy. We, as parents, have been discipling our children just as pastors disciple those who come to them to learn about the gospel. I think you will be able to relate here to what Trevin is saying because in both cases some turn away from the faith. So how do we deal with the hurt? Trevin has some good answers and encouragement.

Don’t Let Demas Steal Your Joy by Trevin Wax

Disciple-makers know great joys. We also know great heartaches. But sometimes, it’s the people who bring you the greatest joy who eventually cause you the greatest heartache.

Perhaps you’ve been in my shoes. You led someone to Christ, and you faithfully sought to pour your life into them. You discipled them to the best of your ability. You welcomed them into your home. You sought to live an exemplary life before them.

But after a period of time, they turned around and went back to their old life. They left you and your church.

So you prayed for them. You pleaded with them. All to no avail. They fell back into their former worldliness and disappeared. And week after week, their absence shouts at you:

You failed them.


You mistook their initial enthusiasm for true conversion.


What kind of minister are you? You couldn’t keep them on the narrow path.


See what happens when you open your heart and life to someone?

Eventually, God brings another person along for you to disciple. But you find that – this time – it’s just a little harder to pour your life into them. It’s harder to give your all when it comes to their growth and discipleship. You don’t verbalize your thoughts, but your heart has them:


What’s the use of pouring your life into them if they wind up like the other?


What if they let you down too?


What if they are only here for a season?

The ache you feel for your earlier disciple keeps you from fully engaging the next one the Lord has for you.
You are not alone. The Apostle Paul once counted Demas as a fellow worker. But in Paul’s last letter, he tells Timothy:

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…

It’s not hard to read between the lines and sense Paul’s sorrow. He wants to see Timothy (at least partly) because Demas has deserted him.

Of course, Paul’s biggest concern is that Demas’ soul is in peril. His former disciple’s love for the world is a demonstration of his lack of love for God. Make no mistake: Paul is concerned with Demas’ soul and destiny.

But that’s not all that grieves the Apostle. Paul needs companionship, partnership, and encouragement. So he tells Timothy to come to him soon. Paul is saying, I need you, Timothy. Demas is gone. In other words,It hurts. Bad.

Perhaps you’ve discipled a Demas before. If so, then you know the hurt that accompanies their desertion. You are deeply disappointed by their decisions. You can feel your spirit deflate whenever you think about where they are right now. You may even question your effectiveness as a minister.

In that moment of grief, you’ve got two choices. The first choice is to let your hurt turn into bitterness. The root of bitterness will keep you from giving yourself to the next person God brings your way. Bitterness constructs a wall around your heart in order to guard you from future hurt. Go this direction and you will never have another Demas to deal with. But you won’t ever raise up a Titus either.

The other choice is to stay grounded in the gospel, the only news that brings joy in the midst of pain. That’s what Paul does. He doesn’t turn bitter. He doesn’t deny his sorrow. Instead, he leans on other partners in the gospel and tells them, “I need you.”

Armed with faith in the power of the gospel and confidence that God’s plan cannot be thwarted, Paul moves forward. He keeps making plans. Bring the parchments. Bring Mark too. Bring my cloak. Hurt or no hurt, Paul maintains a steadfast joy in the sovereignty of God as he keeps on pursuing the kingdom and proclaiming the gospel.

Pray for your Demas. Weep over him. Beg God for him. But don’t let Demas steal your joy. Don’t let Demas rob you of your passion for discipling others. God will continue to bring people to you. The reason you can keep working is because the gospel never stops.

People like Demas will come and go. Yes, your next disciple may be a Demas. But it could be that the next one is your Timothy.

Kingdom People blog by Trevin Wax
Painting of Apostle Paul by Rembrandt

There Shall Be A Performance

Wonderful encouragement for today…

There shall be a performance” (Luke 1:45).

My words shall be fulfilled in their season(their fixed appointed time)
(Greek, Luke 1:20).

There shall be a performance of those things
That loving heart hath waited long to see;
Those words shall be fulfilled to which she clings,
Because her God hath promised faithfully;
And, knowing Him, she ne’er can doubt His Word;
“He speaks and it is done.” The mighty Lord!
There shall be a performance of those things,
O burdened heart, rest ever in His care;
In quietness beneath His shadowing wings
Await the answer to thy longing prayer.
When thou hast “cast thy care,” the heart then sings,

There shall be a performance of those things.

There shall be a performance of those things,
O tired heart, believe and wait and pray;
At eventide the peaceful vesper rings,
Though cloud and rain and storm have filled the day.

Faith pierces through the mist of doubt that bars
The coming night sometimes, and finds the stars.

There shall be a performance of those things,
O trusting heart, the Lord to thee hath told;
Let Faith and Hope arise, and plume their wings,
And soar towards the sunrise clouds of gold;
The portals of the rosy dawn swing wide,
Revealing joys the darkening night did hide.

–Bessie Porter

From Streams In The Desert By Mrs. Charles E Cowman