The Potter and the Play Doh

Do you remember playing with Play-Doh as a child?  I remember that my brother and I had a selection of Play-Doh of various colors, plus a “presser” that allowed you to raise a handle, insert a ball of Play-Doh and press down on the handle to extrude a “rope” of Play-Doh in various shapes, depending upon the type of pattern you had selected.  We had great fun with it…until we forgot to close the Play-Doh container lids tightly!  The Play-Doh dried out and hardened into a lump of colored rock!  Hardened Play-Doh is no fun to a child who isn’t allowed to throw rocks!

 

I was reminded of my childhood experience with Play-Doh when I read from Isaiah, chapter 64 and verse 8, “We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” 

 

Isaiah says that God is the potter and we are clay.  The potter is able to shape the clay only if it is pliable.  My response to Isaiah’s words is to consider whether I am pliable clay or an unusable lump.  I suspect that the difference rests in my attitude toward God.  Am I willing to let God change me or do I resist His work in my life?  Am I willing to listen to what God is saying to me and am I willing to do what He tells me to do?  If so, then God is able to create something amazing in my life.  If not, I condemn myself to being an unusable lump. 

 

Being shaped by God is not always comfortable…often He stretches us out of our comfort zone!   But for us to resist God’s work in our live makes as much sense as clay complaining about the potter’s craftsmanship.  So decide today to entrust your life to the hands of the Master Potter!  You will be amazed at what He will create in you!

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The Quest – Day 20

This is the devotional for Sunday, October 15, 2006 which is the 20th day of The Quest, our 40 Days of Discovery. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 20 of Frank Moore’s great book, The Power To Be Free.

If you were unable to attend Sunday’s service, focusing on Discovery 3 of the Quest, or if you’d like to hear previous messages in The Quest series, please sign up for our Faith Nazarene Church podcast. You will find the link at www.buildyourfaith.net. We will post the recording of the service by this evening.

Visit our archives to read the previous days’ devotionals. Check out the links to the right to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 20 – Not Another Lecture

God’s call to purity is not another guilt ball for you to catch. It’s a call to obey God’s truth.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 NIV)

Have you ever known teens who go deaf when Mom tells them to clean their rooms? Some folks quickly develop that same kind of deafness when God calls us to a life of purity. As Christians we know that purity is a Christian virtue, and that as followers of Jesus Christ we feel drawn to a quest for purity. But we don’t always have a biblical understanding of it. We can be so influenced by our culture that the biblical understanding of purity loses its strength.

Our society has many ways of urging us to lower our expectations of purity in our world:

· “Nobody’s perfect”

· “You should expect me to get angry. I have red hair.”

· “Kids will be kids.”

· “Men have a weakness for that, you know.”

· “He can’t help himself; he comes from a dysfunctional family.”

· “What do you expect? Her mother is an alcoholic.”

· “So I call in sick when I’m not. I work hard most of the time.”

· “Everybody fudges on the truth once in a while.”

· “It can’t be that bad; everybody does it.”

But all the excuses in the world don’t keep our hearts from longing and searching for purity. Our hearts tell us God has something more than the world wants us to believe we should expect, especially when we’ve been personally hurt by the impurity of others.

As you explore the Scriptures this week, keep your ears open to new insights God wants you to hear into the biblical definition of purity. Its meaning may be far richer than you imagine. Notice, too, that God believes we can live a life of purity in this sin-soaked world. Also, as you read and think this week, get in touch with the inner desire for purity God has placed within you. Enter this week’s quest with a new enthusiasm to discover God’s dream of purity for His children.

The memory verse for this week is Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders podcasts. For more information about our church, visit our website at www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by realizing you can experience purity.


Helping Hands

Welcome to Faith Builders. This is Pastor Bill Crane. (Here is the link to the podcast file.)

Before moving to Jacksonville, I lived in a community near Charleston, South Carolina. It seems that many of the Pastors in the area had been overwhelmed by a large number of folks coming to them to ask for food. The area ministerial association began to pray about how to help. As a result a food pantry was started to assist people in crisis situations. The churches all collected donations of food which were given to the food pantry. Volunteers from the churches manned the food pantry. A schedule was established for food distribution. Contact was made with food banks in the greater Charleston area. They began to receive donations of food from grocery chains, restaurants, and area charities. The community rallied behind the organization and offered their help also. Then when anyone approached a church with a need for food, they were referred to the food pantry, which was named, “Helping Hands.”

This reminds me of something Jesus did. In the Bible, in the Gospel of John, chapter 6, Jesus is confronted with what appears to be an overwhelming need. There was a crowd of people who had followed Him, who were hungry, but had no food. Just the men in the crowd numbered 5000, so if their wives and children were present, the total number could have easily been over 15,000!

Well, Jesus simply asked Philip, one of his disciples, to feed the crowd. Philip was overwhelmed! He remarked that it would take more than eight months’ wages just to buy an appetizer for everyone! Andrew checked to see if he could find any food, but all he found was the lunch bag of a small boy. There was no way, humanly speaking, to feed the crowd with that pitifully small meal.

But Jesus wasn’t intimidated. He gave thanks for the meal and began passing out the pieces He broke off. God performed a miracle and provided enough food for the whole crowd, so much in fact that there were leftovers…twelve baskets full of leftovers!

Do you see overwhelming needs around you? I certainly do! Aren’t you glad that Jesus isn’t intimidated by them? I certainly am! Let’s decide today to offer Christ the little we have so that He can bless it, give it away, and minister to thousands!

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast! For more information about our church, visit us online at jaxnaz.org. Thank you for visiting BuildYourFaith.net! Have a great day and let God use what you have to bless others!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 27

This is the devotional for Friday, May 26, 2006 which is Day 27 of our 40 Days of Purpose. Our devotional today offers a summary of the material in Chapter 27 of Rick Warren’s best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous days’ devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 27 – Defeating Temptation

There is always a way out!

“Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” 1 Cor. 10:12 (Msg)

You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that’s a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than he puts within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome. However, you must do your part too by practicing four biblical keys to defeating temptation.

REFOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON SOMETHING ELSE. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up!

REVEAL YOUR STRUGGLE TO A GODLY FRIEND OR SUPPORT GROUP. Authentic, honest fellowship is the antidote to your lonely struggle against those sins that won’t budge. God says it is the only way you’re going to break free.

RESIST THE DEVIL. Without Christ we are defenseless against the Devil, but with “the helmet of salvation” our minds are protected by God. Remember this: If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. He can only suggest.

REALIZE YOUR VULNERABILITY. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must never let down our guard and think we’re beyond temptation.

Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it.

Visit FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net to listen to this devotional or to read or hear previous episodes. This podcast is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. Visit our website at jaxnaz.org for more information about our church.

Build your faith today by finding the path of victory over each temptation!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 13

This is the devotional for Friday, May 12, 2006 which is Day 13 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 13 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional.

Day 13 – Worship That Pleases God

God wants all of you!

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 NIV

God doesn’t want a part of your life. God is not interested in halfhearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money. He desires your full devotion, not little bits of your life.

A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place, and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant. Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship.

The kind of worship that pleases God has four characteristics:

– God is pleased when our worship is accurate.

– God is pleased when our worship is authentic.

– God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful.

– And God is pleased when our worship is practical.

When Jesus said, “Love God with all your strength,” he was saying that worship takes effort and energy. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, and sometimes worship is a sheer act of the will—a willing sacrifice. When you praise God even when you don’t feel like it, when you get out of bed to worship when you’re tired, or when you help others when you are worn out, you’re offering a sacrifice of worship to God. And that pleases God.

Thank you for visiting http://www.buildyourfaith.net! This site is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, North Carolina. For more information about our church visit our website at http://www.jaxnaz.org.

Build your faith today by offering God your full devotion!

40 Days of Purpose – Day 12

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Thursday, May 11, 2006 which is Day 12 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 12 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous day’s devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 12 – Developing Your Friendship with God

You are as close to God as you choose to be!

“Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.” James 4:8 (NLT)

Like any friendship, you must work at developing your friendship with God. It won’t happen by accident. It takes desire, time, and energy.

The first building block of a deeper friendship with God is complete honesty—about your faults and your feelings. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but he does insist on complete honesty. Every time you trust God’s wisdom and do whatever he says – even when you don’t understand it – you deepen your friendship with God.

We don’t normally think of obedience as a characteristic of friendship – obedience is reserved for relationships with a parent or the boss or a superior officer – not a friend. However, Jesus made it clear that obedience is a condition of intimacy with God. He said, “… You are my friends, if you obey me.” John 15:14 (CEV)

There is nothing—absolutely nothing—more important than developing a friendship with God. Paul told Timothy, “Some of these people have missed the most important thing in life—they don’t know God.” 1 Timothy 6:21a (LB)

Have you been missing out on the most important thing in life? You can do something about it starting now. Remember, it’s your choice. You are as close to God as you choose to be.

Thank you for listening to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. It is a ministry of Faith Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, NC. For more information about Faith Church visit us at jaxnaz.org. Build your faith today by becoming best friends with God.

40 Days of Purpose – Day 10

Welcome to FaithBuilders Podcast at buildyourfaith.net. This is Pastor Bill Crane.

This is the devotional for Tuesday, May 9, 2006 which is Day 10 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 10 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous day’s devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 10 – The Heart of Worship

The heart of worship is surrender!

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?” Romans 12:1 (NLT)

In today’s competitive culture we are taught to never give up and never give in—so we don’t hear very much about surrendering. If winning is everything, surrendering is unthinkable. We would rather talk about winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering than yielding, submitting, obeying, and surrendering. But surrendering to God is the heart of worship.

As Joshua approached the biggest battle of his life, he encountered God, fell in worship before him, and surrendered his own plans. That surrender led to a stunning victory at Jericho with God’s plans. This is the paradox: Victory comes through surrender.

Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God. “So,” as Paul says, “give yourselves completely to God.”

40 Days of Purpose – Day 9

This is the devotional for Monday, May 8, 2006 which is Day 9 of our 40 Days of Purpose. For these 40 days we will be posting daily devotions based on the material in Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life. We invite you to get a copy of the book and read chapter 9 with us today.

Click here to listen to the podcast version of this devotional. Visit http://www.buildyourfaith.net to read the previous day’s devotionals or to subscribe to the “FaithBuilders” podcast.

Day 9 – What Makes God Smile?

The smile of God is the goal of your life!

“May the Lord smile on you …” Numbers 6:25 (NLT)

Since pleasing God is the first purpose of your life, your most important task is to discover how to do that. “Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it.” Ephesians 5:10 (Msg)

Five acts of worship that make God smile:

– God smiles when we love him supremely.

– God smiles when we trust him completely.

– God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly.

– God smiles when we praise and thank him continually.

– And God smiles when we use our abilities.

You may feel that the only time God is pleased with you is when you’re doing “spiritual” activities—like reading the Bible, attending church, praying, or sharing your faith. Actually, God enjoys watching every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. He doesn’t miss a single move you make.

The Bible tells us, “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Every human activity, except sin, can be done for God’s pleasure if you do it with the attitude of praise. Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won’t do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.

Find out what makes God smile and live it out. Build your faith today!