The Potter’s ‘Brand’

Every Potter’s Work Is Unique

I met a new potter this weekend while taking pictures at an event I attended. Since I love pottery, we struck up a conversation and “friended” each other. Her work was beautiful, especially the various mugs and trays that she had on display.

Although there are several potters who work in my area, each potter’s work is unique.

Potters brand their pieces with special markings.
Potters brand their pieces with special markings.

Every Potter Eventually Establishes a ‘Brand’

Not only are their individual items uniquely made, but the colors used and patterns applied are unique to each potter.

You might say they each have their ‘brand’.  That brand is established by their unique styles.

That style is brought out by hands that carefully mold and form from the potter’s viewpoint and vision.

Sometimes the clay wishes to cooperate with the potter. Sometimes it does not. The potter patiently places the clay back on the wheel until finally the clay submits to the potter’s wishes.

Potters use a variety of colors and markings.
Potters use a variety of colors and markings.

The Potter Knows the Potential of the Clay

It’s not that the potter doesn’t consider the clay’s texture or color or strength. The potter knows those things. But the potter also knows what the clay can become when it yields itself to his or her touch.

The potter has the end piece in view.

He or she sees it in all its beautiful form as finished and sitting on a customer’s table. He or she knows its usefulness and the blessing it will be as it pours out its contents to those who sit at the table.

Different sizes of pitchers for a variety of uses.
Potters make pitchers in a variety of sizes for different uses.

Our Master in Heaven Is

the Great Potter

It’s the same way with our Master in Heaven. He is the Great Potter who forms us and molds us to be the vessels that will bless those for whom we are poured out in service for Him.

Our Great Potter knows our frame, but He sees what we can be. He sees us as what we will be in His kingdom.

He is the author and finisher of our faith. One day our faith will end in sight.

One day soon we will see our Great Potter face to face. May He say of us in that day, “Well done!”

Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark

Photos © by Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome, available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. Check out her blog at http://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.

 

Devotional: Empty Vessels Have Potential

The Potential of an Empty Vessel

An Empty Vessel Can Collect Dust

What is the potential in having a lot of empty vessels?

A case of canning jars sitting on the back porch collecting dust may not seem to be of much value to a passerby.

Dusty canning jars waiting to be used.
Dusty jars waiting to be used.

An Empty Vessel Has Potential

However, a person with knowledge and insight can see past the emptiness of the jars to the potential they hold.

Yes, those empty jars may have little value. But once they are filled with green beans or tomatoes or pickles, suddenly they have great value.

An Empty Vessel Can Be Filled

Those once empty jars now have the potential to feed starving souls.  They have the potential to sustain and maintain others’ needs. They can also be reused again and again.

Empty jars waiting to be filled.
Empty vessels waiting to be filled.

An Empty Vessel Can Be Limited

Are we like those empty vessels sitting on the porch collecting dust?

Have we limited our potential by remaining empty?

An Empty Vessel Can Be Used to Bless Others

“[B]ut be filled with the Spirit.”  Ephesians 5:18

As we allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of Christ, we overflow into the lives of others.

Our fullness sustains others with our encouraging thoughts, words, and prayers. Our fullness flows into the lives of others as we share our blessings. Those blessings meet others’ needs as well as our own.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Acts 20:35

Empty vessels need to be filled.
Empty vessels need to be filled.

As the contents of a jar is replaced with another substance (invisible air is replaced with visible blessing), so our ‘self’ is replaced by the fullness of Christ.

“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Filled Vessels Can Serve Christ to Others

As Christ lives in the vessels He fills, Christ is served to others.

Others enjoy our fullness in Christ and receive added blessing.  Their vessels receive hope and are filled with potential. Their souls can then receive the valuableness of having Christ, the only One who can truly give sustenance and meaning to life.

The jar is valued by its contents. Garden vegetables are saved for a wintry day.
The jar is valued by its contents. Garden vegetables are saved for a wintry day.

He came to give us life and that “more abundantly.”  John 10:10

May Your Empty Vessels Be Filled to Their Full Potential

You may wish to pull out those empty jars and fill them with blessings that can be shared with others. Whether it be vegetables, plants, flower arrangements, or spare change, empty vessels were created to be used. They provide a means of storing our precious items for a later time.

And May You Be Filled with the Potential Christ Desires for You

You were created with potential. Christ’s desire is for you to be filled with Him.  His grace and mercy is offered to you.  May you be all that Christ has created you to be.

Join in the conversation:

 

It’s a Psalm 31 Day, A Prayer of Encouragement

May your heart be blessed by God's Word.
May your heart be blessed by God’s Word.

It’s a Psalm 31 Day.

That’s what I felt spoken to my mind today as I started to pray.

So, I opened my Bible to view the day through Scripture. I read the words over and over.

Yes, the Scripture spoke to my heart because a friend of mine is going through a difficult time.

I read the words over and over.

Then I turned the words into a prayer. Maybe some of those words will speak to your heart. Yes, it is a Psalm 31 Day!

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed:  deliver me in thy righteousness.

Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me.

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.

Pull me out of the net that [those who wish to do me harm] have laid privily for me:  for thou art my strength.

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.

I have hated [the lying vanities that people speak]: but I trust in [You] Lord.

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou has considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;

And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.

Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:  I am like a broken vessel.

For I have heard the slander of many:  fear was on every side:  while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Make thy face to shine upon [me]: save me for thy mercies’ sake.

Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man:  thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

Blessed be the LORD:  for he hath shewed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.

For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes:  nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.

O love the LORD, all ye his saints:  for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Psalm 31:1-24 (Insertions mine)

Scripture taken from Psalm 31, King James Bible

Join the conversation:

Have you been through a difficult time? What verses of Scripture have encouraged you the most?

What encouraging reading material would you suggest to a person who is going through a difficult time?

Are you involved in a helps ministry?

Stitches Well-Placed, Devotional

Stitches Well-placed, Devotional

Stitches of Prevention

“A stitch in time saves nine” is a famous maxim.

In this world of troubled souls, a few stitches might help to prevent some of those frazzled places that develop in men’s hearts.

A few well-placed ones can stop a tear before it completely destroys a soul.

But waiting until a gaping hole develops may require replacement of parts that we hold dear. These holes require many stitches to repair.

Christmas stocking
My aunt’s loving stitches from many years ago

Stitches of Repair

Mending a broken heart or encouraging a depressed soul may require a variety of stitches. These stitches are especially helpful when administered by those who have experienced them themselves.

Some may need to touch the hem of His garment.

Some may need to highlight an important part.

Some may need to surround a weak section.

Some may need to open a place for connection.

Some are long, some are short, depending upon the need.

Stitches for Fellowship, crochet doily
Stitches for Fellowship

Stitches to Meet the Need

Maybe you know of some other stitches that can mend broken souls. This is just a short list. However, no stitch is of any value until it is applied to the recipient.

  • Stitches of hope
  • Stitches of grace
  • Stitches of encouragement
  • Stitches of mercy
  • Stitches of kindness
  • Stitches of love
  • Stitches of joy
  • Stitches of peace
  • Stitches of patience

The best ones though, are placed just in time.

quilted jacket
Quilted stitches give warmth to a jacket

Maybe it’s needful for us to do a little mending today.

What stitches do you need to work on?


Do you know how to sew?
Who was it that taught you?
Is there a certain garment or craft that you enjoyed working on more than others?
Are you passing your gift on to others?

Maybe you would like to add some stitches to the list above. Just leave your stitches in the comment box below.

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Devotional: Surviving the Storms of Life #3

The Storms of Life, continued

©2016 Peggy Clark

Dusting off the dried clumps of sand from her face and hands, she began her trek in the direction of the rooftop when suddenly there was a deep voice from behind her.

Turning she saw a gray-haired man with a fishing pole and a bucket in his hand. “Good morning, Miss. Fine morning isn’t it? And where did you come from?”

“Are you all right?” he said as she suddenly fell backward. “You must be hurt. Here, let me help you.”

She had not previously noticed the dried blood that covered her right arm and leg. Nor could she have seen the bruising on her face and other parts of her ravaged body.

As if shaken out of a daze, she began to weep uncontrollably. Memory now came to remind her of things she could not now bear to remember.

“Here, here, let me help you! You mustn’t cry. I won’t harm you. Stay still now while I look at your arms and legs.”

She nodded affirmation although the tears just would not stop.

The gray-haired man patiently checked for cuts and broken bones.

“Well, my lady. You’ve got some nasty cuts and bruises. Hopefully, you have no broken bones, but I don’t want to run the risk of injuring you any further. Will you trust me to run to the house yonder and bring round a truck? I won’t be any longer than I have to, I promise.”

She lay back and rested. Finally, help had come. Maybe Providence was on her side.

“In my distress, I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.”  2 Samuel 22:7


We may ask why the journey of life had to take us down a particular path, why we were left alone to struggle through the waves of trials and temptations that sought to overcome us, and why it took us so long to get to a place of safety and respite.

Unwelcome Disturbances

Storms come as unwelcome disturbances in our lives.

Those disturbances present themselves in a variety of ways. They may consist of a ripple, a splash, a flood tide, or even a tidal wave.

When our vessels filled with the lower pressures of mediocrity, complacency, and sinful desires meet with the higher pressures of holiness, compassion, truth, and situations not of our choosing, struggles develop.

Uncertain Responses

Our response to God’s trimming makes the difference as to whether our sails are filled with the wind and prosper spiritually or are ripped from their spars and toppled in defeat.

Sometimes our response of grasping on to whatever lies before us drowns those who are trying to liberate us from our muddy waters.

We resist the command of submission to someone else’s control and find ourselves drowning in despair.

It is when we look upward instead of downward that we catch a breath from God and see His hand reaching out in deliverance.

Special Blessings

No matter how surprised we may be at the onslaught of the storm, we find that each disturbance does come with its own special blessing. Those individual blessings may be hidden at the moment, but they are there just the same.

We are strengthened as we struggle through the swelling waters and find that God is on the tip of every resounding wave, inviting us to come and walk with Him on the water.

We discover that His is the only Voice that has the power to calm the storm in our souls.

“[B]e not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:10).

After the storm we wake to find that the rubble in our lives has been loosed and carried far out to sea. If remnants remain, they are only there to remind us of our deliverance from that which sought to destroy us.

Our outlook is freshened and intensely set on things that are of greater importance than the mediocrity of the past.

Our vessels become known as seaworthy, able to withstand the storms of life, and able to lead others through troubled waters.

Special Truth

Why does it take us so long to get to a place of safety and respite?

It takes as long as it takes for us to realize that God is our Life Preserver, the Tugboat who draws us into His safe harbor and can give us calm waters in the midst of any storm.

It takes just as long as it takes for us to accept this truth.

And accepting Truth is how we survive the storms of life.

© 2016 Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is also the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. 
Ask for it at your local Christian retailer or order online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers.

Devotional: Surviving the Storms of Life #2

The Storms of Life, Continued
©2016 Peggy Clark

Suddenly she was awakened by the earth eroding underneath her. A loud roar sounded in her ears. Warmth surrounded and tugged at her body, slowly pulling her back into the sea from whence she had come.

She must resist its deadly grasp. Now awakened, she slowly began to pull herself forward once again. This time she was able to make progress although every movement caused her body to wreak with pain.

Finally, turning over on her backside, she let the sun shine fully on her face. The aching inside told her she must have help and soon.

“Help, I must have help,” she repeated to herself but her body gave way to fatigue before she could muster enough energy to cry out.

Once again the forces of nature or some power from above cried out to her. Seagulls screamed in increasing volume desiring some morsel of food as if to say, “Get up and give us,” but she had nothing left to give.

Startled, she was awakened to a new day. A new day in all its splendor. She embraced its warmth and drunk in its laughter. Birds sang cheerily and a butterfly fluttered about her head.

She reached out and touched one of its wings. It danced away toward the morning rays of sunshine and out of her sight.

What was that in the distance? Peeking out above the trees that lined the shore was a gray rooftop. She listened intently for sounds of life and heard dogs barking in the clearing just ahead.

Hope sprang up in her bosom even though she found herself struggling to get up from the ground.


Why does our journey of life take us down a particular path?

Why are we left alone to struggle through the dark waters of turbulent forces as they try to overcome us?

Overwhelmed by successive waves of circumstances beyond our control, our inclination is to grasp hold of whatever lies before us.

Human nature digs our fingers in deep and splits our fingernails in anxiety. We exert all our energies in resisting the forces of change.

Our first reaction is to turn back to the past, to that which we are familiar, until we are entrapped in its undercurrents. The old man gently tugs and teases, whispering in our ears his deceptive voice. He wishes to erode our faith. Our foundation of sand quickly vanishes away.

Panic sets in as we realize we cannot stand against these forces alone. The intensity of the storm obliterates our view. Blinded, we cannot see the shoreline just ahead. Moment by moment our strength weakens as the undertow pulls at us.

Crying out for deliverance, we strain to hear an answer. None is heard except that of the vultures as they rob us of that which we hold to be of value.

Yet, the voice of resistance is heard from somewhere deep inside reminding us that we must resist the temptation of giving in to that which wishes to destroy us.

Rays of hope peek through the dark clouds allowing faith to swell up in our hearts.

Hope then gives faith the surge that is needed to overcome the depths of our trials and preserve us from drowning in despair.

Hope befriends faith and says, “Believe. There is a tomorrow.”


He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;

He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.

They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

2 Samuel 22:17-19

To be continued.

©2016 Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is author of the Bible study, So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. Ask for it at your local Christian retailer or purchase online.